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Keeping Business Data Safe a Key Part of Preparedness Plan
Missouri Ag Connection - 10/10/2017

Even though employees and business owners all realize the importance of business data, and can recognize the impact data loss could have on business operations, only 30 percent of businesses have a disaster preparedness plan for business data.

"Business critical data includes information your business could not recover if it were lost. As a basic rule, if losing the data will interfere with doing business it should be backed up," said Dr. Kathy Macomber, community development specialist, University of Missouri Extension.

This can include customer information, email correspondence, financial records, HR records, procedures and policies, certificates and licenses, passwords and software.

There are many backup software programs and online resources available that allow a business owner to set a schedule that will archive their data automatically. There are also several options for backup media according to Macomber.

CD-ROMs are inexpensive but may be the most unreliable. Tape backups are more reliable but are more expensive. External hard drives are cheap compared to tape drive systems and offer a low failure rate. The emerging online backup services are easy to use and require no additional hardware.

According to Macomber, a final consideration is where the backup data should be stored, if not using an online service. Adhering to a regular data backup schedule won't help if all your data backup copies are in one place and that place is struck by disaster.

"It may also be wise to practice redundancy, picking more than one way to preserve your data and have the backups at more than one location," said Macomber.

For example, some copies of backups might be stored in off-site like the business owner's home, a family member's home, safe deposit boxes, or even storage facilities.

No matter which method a business chooses to keep their business-critical data safe, one thing is evident, it is important to have a disaster preparedness plan for business data in place.

"Disasters aren't always hurricane sized; a poorly timed server crash can do as much damage and is more likely to occur. Once a plan is in place it should be used and often monitored to ensure that your business critical data is safe in any disaster," said Macomber.

Community development specialists with MU Extension help people create communities of the future by tapping into local strengths and university resources. The Community Development Program works collaboratively with communities to foster economic development, leadership development, community decision making, community emergency preparedness and inclusive communities.

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