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Are all of your eggs in one basket?

Eggs in one basketYou know the old saying.  Well, think of your backups as eggs and where you store them as a basket.  Hopefully you’re not storing them all in one basket.  I’ve seen many take what appears to be a good step – purchasing an external hard drive for backups – only to be disappointed when the time comes to retrieve that backup.

Those external hard drives are a good start, but don’t think you’re in the clear.  They’re just as inclined to fail as the hard drive inside your computer.  They are literally the same drive you have in your computer, but in a pretty, little case.  Hard drives contain moving parts and even if you nudge one and knock it over, you could lose all of the data stored on it.

Let’s expand on that word – data.  Data isn’t just a bunch of 1s and 0s – not to you it isn’t. Data to you is consignors, customers, inventory, sales … your livelihood. How much is that worth to you?  Is making a daily backup too much of a chore?  Is being able to have consignors continue to bring in inventory so you can stay in business too much of a chore?  When you start looking at it that way, backups become priceless.

I’ve been working in the IT field for over 10 years.  I’ve met, worked with and been educated by some of the smartest people on this planet.  Each and every one of them constantly reiterated the same thing:

  • Perform daily backups to unique devices and then test those backups on a regular basis.

This is probably one of the easiest things you can do and in the end, it’s going to save you the most time and money.  I’m not telling you to throw away that 500 GB external hard drive you just purchased.  You can never have too many backups.  Utilize that drive for additional files such as pictures, documents, spreadsheets, etc.  Periodically backup those backups to disc – e.g. a CD or DVD.

Your consignment software database backups are a completely different animal.  For your consignment software database backups, one of the most-effective, yet least-expensive ways to attain redundancy is with USB Flash Drives.  They look like this …

USB Flash Drive

First things first – how many days a week are you open for business?  If you’re open 6 days a week, purchase at least 6 of these.  You can find them on Websites such as http://newegg.com/ for about $9 a piece.  Take a label gun or a sharpie and write a day of the week on each of them, according to which days you are open for business.  Starting to see where we’re going with this?

On Monday, take “Monday’s Flash Drive” and plug it into a USB port on your computer.  If your computer’s USB ports aren’t in the easiest-to-get-to spot, buy one of these.  Each day you’re open, use that day’s drive for your backups.  Keep these in a fireproof safe.  What you’re creating is a strong contingency plan, should technology fail on you.

Having multiple backups – ones you’re testing on a weekly basis – gives you a cushion.  Let’s say somehow, your database becomes damaged – either corruption or possibly just a set of mistakes triggered by human error.  Well, if you had just one backup, you’d be up the proverbial creek.  If you have 6 backups to choose from, you’ve now got a better case scenario.  You can always “go back in time” to a backup from a few days ago.  Hey, you might lose some information, but not ALL of it.

It’s nearly impossible to recover from a complete data loss and it can drive a business out of, well, business.

I've been helping consignment & resale store-owners since 2003. I started The Computer Peeps in February of 2010. After 15 years of working with consignment stores, I understand the unique challenges consignment & resale storeo-wners face. From electrical issues in old building or strip malls, to advocating for them when their consignment software keeps crashing. I now manage over 400 computer systems, servers & websites for store-owners all across North America and I am the developer/programmer of Peeps' Software -- the only software written FOR consignment & resale stores specifically.

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