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Jan 31 2015

Some time ago I got an urgent phone call from the director of a small company: His computer wouldn’t start and could I come and take a look? And could I please hurry, as he had an urgent proposal to submit.

So I jumped in my car and drove over. When I arrived, I switched on the PC - and was greeted by what’s known as the ‘click of death’, which indicates a catastrophic hard disk failure. So catastrophic that the only way to recover any data is by sending it off to a data recovery specialist with a clean room where the hard disk can be taken apart and maybe - maybe - the data on the disk can be recovered.

I broke the bad news to my client, and asked if he had another computer as a fall-back solution?

He didn’t.

So I offered to lend him my laptop, just to finish the proposal.

Unfortunately, it turned out that not only didn’t he have a second computer, but he also never did a backup of his files. Everything - the urgent proposal, his accounts, his list of contacts, his projects - in short, almost all his business data - had been on his PC, and only on his PC.

This is about as bad as it gets. Needless to say, he didn’t get the proposal in on time, losing him a substantial contract. Furthermore, even the specialist data recovery company couldn’t salvage everything from the hard disk. Some of his data and essential parts of the operating system were gone, which meant that he not only had to buy a new hard disk, but he also had to reinstall Windows and all the software he’d been using. Not to mention those business documents that were lost on top of that.

All in all, with both direct costs and loss of income, the damages were well into the thousands.

One simple, inexpensive piece of software could have had him finish his proposal on time (with a borrowed laptop from yours truly) and his PC up and running, as if nothing had happened, within a day.

I’m talking about backup software (as if you hadn’t guessed.)

If you own a computer, you should have backup software. If you're running a business, you must have backup software. There are plenty of options out there, from simple, free backup solutions to paid ones that offer a greater range of features and convenience to the user. Even the paid solutions shouldn't set you back more than around £50, which, considering the cost of not having backups of your data, is a pittance.

So, if you haven't got a backup solution yet - go out and get one!

Frauke Frauke's love affair with computers started by drooling over the sheer awesomeness of a ZX81 when she was a child. Since then she has owned a Commodore 128, an Amiga, an Acorn RISC PC (would you believe it) and an assortment of more mainstream laptops and PCs. Her love of computers and technology in general led her to obtain two Bachelor's degrees in engineering. She has worked both as a hardware and a software engineer, and has been the managing director of her own IT consultancy, Creative Cats, for 15 years now. She helps small businesses and entrepreneurs with their IT needs, providing hands-on support where needed and training where required. She loves being asked why she decided to become an engineer. To be able to go out wearing a red shirt and survive, of course.
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