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Create a Back-Up Plan for Your Data Don't wait until Armageddon strikes.

By Robert Siciliano Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

I always scratch my head when businesspeople contact their clients and say, "I had a computer crash; do you have those files to send?"

Whoa! What? Why?

Related: 5 Ways Your Employees Are Unintentionally Sabotaging Your Data Security

In fact, when I describe this scenario to others, I think about a boxer who has focused too hard on the big knockout. If he is too focused on taking out his opponent, it's likely that he himself may fall hard from all those sharp jabs in the ring, because he hasn't focused on those smaller threats.

Businesses are similarly threatened when it comes to network security. If the emphasis is directed too much at preventing a data breach -- the digital equivalent of the knockout -- the company almost always allows in smaller, invidious threats.

And although those threats may not seem dangerous on the surface, they can be devastating to your network.

Why don't people back up their data? If you are using your computer for your business, take my advice: Back up your data at least daily, and, even better, once an hour or even in real time. You will protect yourself from:

  • Accidently deleting data
  • Hacking and hackers
  • Hard drive death
  • Physical theft
  • Fire or water damage

Preparing for data threats

People don't have psychic abilities. And, often, they ignore or don't anticipate threats. They may even think threats to their data "can't happen" to them. But that kind of thinking is unwise. Alternately, you can plan. And in the cyber-security universe, planning entails actions like the following:

  • List out all possible threats.
  • Prepare for natural disasters and crimes by having insurance.
  • Train your staff on security and privacy policies.
  • Think fire prevention by using smoke detectors and fire extinguishers.
  • Choose a backup location, should your current business location become compromised.
  • Create a team to take charge when disaster strikes, then choose backups to step in should team members be unable to do so.
  • Have a post-disaster plan in place for communicating with your vendors, employees and customers. Also have a list of backup vendors.
  • Make sure the plan is flexible, and update it when necessary.
  • Back up your data onsite and on the cloud. Consider services such as Carbonite to back up this data for up to 90 days. This will allow you to quickly get back on your feet after a data loss.
  • Back up data locally. The best way to do this is to utilize sync software, which will allow for these backups to save on more than one drive.
  • To make your daily backup an easy process, go through your old files and get rid of any you do not need. Then start organizing the rest.
  • Protect your data by keeping the computers in a secure locked, alarmed area.
  • Replace your company computers every two to three years, and if worrisome symptoms occur, like a blue screen or sluggishness, buy new ones even sooner.
  • Use an anti-malware software, to protect you from hackers.

Related: Be Sure to Look Around the Office When Searching for Gaps in Your Data Security

Other protection tips for small businesses

Here are more tips, to protect your company's computers:

Investigate the RAID drive set up. This is defined as a redundant selection of single disks, a type of data storage virtualization technology. It combines several physical drive components into one logical unit in order to eliminate redundancy. For example, make it a point to de-clutter all of your digital files, which helps your computers run quickly and makes the daily backup faster. Also, make sure to sift through all of your computer programs and delete any that you don't use.

Clean your disk drives often. If you have a Windows computer, use the disk cleanup tool that is under the control panel.

Use a "balanced" power setting. This will keep your hard drive in good shape. To find it, go to the control panel, choose the "hardware and sound" section, choose "power options" and then click the "balanced" option. Also, make sure to reinstall the operating system every couple of years.

By taking the time to prepare for and prevent attacks, you'll not only help your business, but also your vendors, employees and customers. Taking the steps to do this now will be a great help in the future.

Related: 11 Tips to Secure Mobile Devices and Client Data

Robert Siciliano

Personal Security, Privacy and Identity Theft Expert

Robert Siciliano, CEO of IDTheftSecurity.com, is committed to informing, educating and empowering Americans so they can be protected from violence and crime in the physical and virtual worlds.

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