Web Hosting Tips for Data Protection
When you are dealt a bunch of lemons, you make lemonade. The worst scenario can happen to any business. Macs, iPhones, iPads, and PCs can get stolen or damaged when you least expect it, and it usually occurs at the worst possible time. No worries, however, because a little preparation and pro-active planning can save you a lot of grief in the long run.
How do you get back up and running if this happens to you?
How to protect yourself from losing your data is important, whether it is business data, website data that you store on your web host's server, payroll, photographs, videos.... whatever the case may be. Protecting your data should be a top priority for your business.
Why in the world does this matter?
- Peace of mind—It is golden to know that you are protected if your hard drive crashes or if an unscrupulous individual breaks into your office and steals your computers. Just knowing that this scenario will not spell the end of your business is priceless. It helps you to sleep at night. And if you are thinking, "This will never happen to me", think again. It has happened to almost everyone at least once—a file was not saved properly and you needed to re-create it or a hard drive crashed. All business owners can relate. Theft and a hard-drive crash amount to the same type of loss to your business. They have the same outcome. And the outcome is that your business operations are severely disrupted.
- Business continuity—A lot of people know that if their computer was stolen and the data was not retrievable, it could very well mean the end of their business. The good news about a lot of these loss-prevention strategies is that they are "set and forget", designed to protect you if-and-when this were to happen to you or your business. That sinking feeling when you learn that you have not only lost your computers, but your data as well is stunning. It is a nightmare situation. If this were to happen, you would need to buy a new computer and plug-in your external hard drive to get back online. You can lose about a day or more of your time, as well as the cost of the new equipment and the high value of your data.
Tips to protect your data
- Remote backup—Crashplan.com remote back up in place is a good idea to protect your computers. These backup plans will backup anything that has changed every single day. If your computer crashes, you can download it from crashplan.com. It is worth the investment. Your data is stored in the cloud and it is encrypted.
- External storage—Have an external hard drive and always backup your computer to an external hard drive. On Macs, there is a tool called 'Time Machine' and it literally does the same thing that crashplan.com does. Time Machine is handy and low-cost. All you need to do is setup the schedule on which you want your backup created. Buy a really long cable and put the external hard drive out-of-view. You can hide it under your desk or lock it in a drawer. It is much faster to retrieve your data from Time Machine than it is to download all your data from crashplan.com.
- Password protect your computer—Always have a password to login to your computer. It is a bit of a deterrent. If someone steals your computer, they will most likely re-format your hard drive rather than try and get through the password protection.
- Password protect your web browser—If you think about it, with a browser you access your bank accounts, merchant systems, everything that is important to a business. In FireFox you can setup a master password so that if you decide to use FireFox to save your passwords, the master password will protect that important data. Or adjust the settings in all your browsers so that no passwords are saved. In this case, consider an application called 1PassWord which is an app that you can buy on your Android, iPhone, Mac or PC. 1PassWord integrates with DropBox. Dropbox syncs your team's work across all your devices — working on the go has never been more seamless or easy. Create and use a very strong password to get into 1Password. It integrates with all the major web browsers. The app "cross syncs" all your devices so that all your passwords are the same on every single device you use. Another password tool that is useful is called RoboForm (my personal favorite). These tools give you the ability to centrally store all your passwords in one convenient location. If you lose your laptop, you can install 1Password or RoboForm, login, and then you have the ability to do whatever you want because you have all your passwords.
- Hide it—Do not leave your expensive equipment out in plain view. If you are in a car and you need to leave your laptop, tuck it away before you actually arrive to your destination and hide it some where safe, so if someone does break into your car, they will not be able to find it.
- Track it—LowJack is a piece of software that allows you to report your computer stolen and allow the police to track it. Another option is something that comes by default with Macs. Mac has "Find my iPhone" also known as "Find my Mac". If you login to iCloud.com and you have enabled location devices on all of your computers and smart phones. It will pull up a map and show you where your devices are. Logmein.com is remote access software and allows you to remotely login to your PC or Mac and, at that point, you can look up the IP address to see where your device is. Options to locate your computer are important, easy and, in some cases, free.
- Document it—Serial numbers are important. Keep a photograph of the box of the new computer you purchase so that you have your serial number on hand at all times. If that computer does get stolen, you can give that serial number to the police.
- Sound sensors—Glassbreak is a sound sensor, but unfortunately window shades and blinds can mute the sound.
- Eyes 'on' at all times—Video surveillance can be added to the outside of your home or office. Point the camera at the driveway so that you can capture the license plate numbers of the car. You can also put video surveillance inside of your office. "SVAT CV301" is a video surveillance system that has night vision, day-time vision and high definition. They have hard drives inside of them and record a few weeks of video. They are literally running around-the-clock.
- Website backup—Make sure that you keep a backup of your website data at all times. cPanel, which is offered by the best web hosting companies, has an easy to use backup utility. The backup tool is a quick way to backup your websites' entire home directory or databases. There are many options and different filters that you can use to backup everything or only a few files. The files are compressed and then you can save them to your local machine or external hard drive.
By following these tips, you can minimize the possibility of this type of scenario disrupting your business operations. If something bad does happen, you can be back online within a matter of hours, rather than days or weeks.