By Tyler Mosley, CPA, CFE
Audit Supervisor at Atchley & Associates, LLP
Backing up company files is usually not at the forefront of our minds. That is until we lose crucial data and wish we had been more diligent about backing up our files. We rely on our computers everyday and sometimes take for granted what would happen if we lost access to them. Ask yourself something; how much of my data would I lose if my computer’s hard drive failed right now? How much data would my company lose if the servers crashed? If your answer to either of these questions is more than twenty-four hours of data then you may not be backing up your computer systems frequently enough.
Backing up files can assist you with restoring data lost due to hardware failure, computer viruses, theft, accidental deletion, and natural disasters. We recommend to our clients that they create backups of their computer systems every week at a minimum. These backups should be kept on a separate system, i.e. a computer backup should not be kept on the same computer and a server backup should not be kept on the same server. We also recommend that backups be kept in a fire and flood proof container or at an offsite location. There have been many occasions when companies were diligent about backing up their files only to have their computer systems and backup files lost due to a fire or flood at their office.
You may also want to consider creating backups every twenty-four hours, especially if the cost to recreate lost data is high. Backing up files can be done manually or by using a third party service. Some third party services offer cloud storage which provides the benefit of having your backups readily accessible and at an offsite location.
When making the decision of how frequently to backup company files, remember to ask yourself; what would happen if I lost all of my data right now and how would that adversely affect my company? You may find that backing up your files is now a top priority.