We all know the importance of backing up computer-stored data. How do you know it will save the day, when the crisis comes?
A client of ours called the other day, asking for help. He sustained a lightning strike over the weekend, and all those backup tapes he had been making daily and keeping in the lockbox at the bank – well, they had deteriorated over time. After replacing the damaged computer hardware, the tapes couldn’t be restored. The unrecoverable data included the expected accounting information, including accounts receivable balances, for which no hard copy reports existed, but the real killer was the master data files used to publish certain intellectual property items for resale. The lightning strike made it impossible for them to collect for inventory which had already been sold, and to publish any new inventory to create new sales.

A similar thing, with a happier outcome, actually happened to a local CPA firm. There, a virus came in, piggy-backed on some innocent looking e-mail, and hijacked their local server. A screen appeared, telling them that if they wanted the code to unlock their server and use it again, they needed to send a wire transfer of $1,000 to an offshore location. Happily, they didn’t have to.
Luckily for them, they were using a continuous internet-based backup service, called Carbonite. The firm’s IT consultant and the Carbonite people were able to find a version of their backup from just before the hijacking took place, and restore the data, losing only the work product of a day or two.
Discuss your system weaknesses with your IT professional, and be sure you aren’t at risk for either of these disasters.