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Wrangle your data into order

At the beginning of a new tax year, it’s a good time to think about how to best organise your data and secure it against loss in the event of a system failure. It’s time for a spring clean! The best thing about spring cleaning your files is just how simple it can be. In just three steps you can have all your files, precious photos and videos secured at the same time.

Step One – Get Organised
The first step is to categorise the data that you have on your computer, and then take a look at the options available to you to store, backup and archive this data to tidy up your computer and make your data more secure.

There are several types of data on your computer that you need to identify:

  1. Valuable files that you require daily (music, contacts, live documents) – these are the files that you will want to stay on your computer hard drive.
  2. Valuable files that you view regularly/occasionally (old photos, movies, archived documents) – these files can be backed up but need to be easily accessible.
  3. Files that you may occasionally need or might not require in the future (emails) – these files can be archived on backup.
  4. Files that are no longer needed or necessary – these can be deleted.

Step Two – Choose your backup device
First, realise that your desktop or laptop computer hard drive may fail at some point. It is the primary repository, and you’re planning to back it up in case it gets lost or damaged.

The backup device needs to be external to your computer – either as a standalone drive or cloud base. It’s fair to assume that you will continue to accumulate files as time passes, so opt for the largest storage capacity you can afford to buy.

Your backup system should offer ease, security and flexibility. If it’s not easy to set up and use, you’re not likely to do it. It also has to have the right options to work for your needs, such as to back up only files that have changed since the last backup. Keep in mind too, if it does not offer file access and recovery security it’s not really a proper backup.

A thumb drive or USB drive, for example, is a handy transport system when you want to take your files to and from different computers easily, but it is definitely not a secure backup system. Thumb drives work just find for transferring a few files, but their limited capacity also means you’ll need quite a few of them to back up your various directories – and that’s not a great solution given how easy it is to lose them.

Step Three – Plan your backup frequency
The final step is to decide whether you wish to back up your files continuously or schedule it for selected times. Unless you have a particular need to keep everything back up in real time, you’ll probably find that backing up regularly at a scheduled time is the best option. You can time these backups to occur in the late-night or early0morning hours, when the computer is likely to be idle. Just be sure to keep your backup drive attached if you want it to save your files.

It’s also a good idea to keep a regularly updated drive offsite in case of fire or theft. That way you’ll always have an up-to-date backup of your files and documents.
As your business grows, you may also consider investing in Network Attached Storage (NAS) as this gives you the ability to collaborate, share and access files from anywhere when on the go.

Smartphones and other devices need a backup plan too
While you’re spring-cleaning your computer it’s also worth investing some time to review the files your smartphone and other digital devices. If you use iOS devices you can easily back up your photos to products like ours, or you can back up to iCloud.

That’s it! Get moving and put your backup plan into action and start to enjoy peace of mind. Don’t forget, the cost of technology purchases can be accounted for within your tax return.

The Business Enterprise Centre is a community based not-for-profit organisation established to foster the growth of business within the Central West of NSW. We are managing agents for the NSW government Small Biz connect Program, Australian Government ASBAS and NEIS program. To find out how we can assist your business contact the BEC on 63620448 or email info@becbiz.com.au