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Happy World Backup Day everyone! In honor of World Backup Day, we will discuss the importance of backups, how you should backup your data and even discuss some cloud-based apps and programs that can keep your data safe. Let’s go over why backups are extremely important.
Did your computer crash in the middle of an important project, and you did not save it? Did you lose your project because the power went out? Lost the file in a bunch of folders or even the USB drive you saved it on? If you only have one copy of the file you are working on, it could be nearly impossible to get it back and starting over from the very beginning can be painful (especially if your project took several weeks or even months). If you run a business, you should always have backup copies of your most important documents, client files or other types of files related to your operations. We will help you easily get started saving your files with the options that we will discuss in this post.
Your website is one of your most important marketing tools for your business, and without it you will not be able to be found easily. You may be wandering what could cause your website to be lost if it’s already saved on the internet. A website can be lost in many ways, whether it be from hacking (see our previous post from Cyber Security Month on using a WordPress security plugin) or a bad plugin/theme that broke your site. If you are a technical person and your site runs WordPress, check out their guide on backing up your website. If you do not feel safe backing up your site the technical way, please keep reading.
Check to see if your hosting provider offers backup service
Many web hosting providers, such as WP Engine and Bluehost for example provide backup solutions that save your WordPress website over certain time periods. If you need to restore your website back to an earlier version (like Time Machine on Mac), then you have the option to revert back to the way it was on a certain day. If your web hosting provider does not provide backups in your package, then you can consider using a plugin (see below).
WordPress backup plugins
There are many plugins available for backing up your WordPress site, such as Updraft Plus and WPBackitup for example. When using these plugins, it is important to keep in mind that you will want to upload your site backups to a cloud storage platform such as Dropbox or Google Drive (we will discuss these later in this post) and delete them from your website server to avoid slowing it down. Slower websites do not rank well on search engines and could even give you penalties that could further harm your rankings on Google and other search engines. Making full backups of your website will allow you to restore your website 100% if it is ever ruined in any way.
Do clients store their files on your site? Create a client portal.
If you have many clients who share files with you related to business, then you can easily add a client portal to your WordPress website with the WP-Client plugin. It allows you to share files securely with your clients over a cloud-based storage platform on a private area of your website. This is a great way to keep your most important client-related files safe and secure, eliminating the need to save them locally on your computer where they could be lost due to corruption.
We have briefly mentioned the use of cloud-based file storage to save backup copies of your WordPress website. In addition to saving copies of your website, cloud-based file storage should be utilized to keep your most important business documents safe from data loss or corruption that could occur on your hard drive. In addition to safety, these cloud-based storage services allow you to access your files on any device, anywhere. Anytime you make changes to your files on the cloud, the changes are synced to your other devices as well. If that isn’t enough, cloud-based storage even allows you to share your files with other people easily.
Cloud-based storage services
Apple iCloud Up to 5GB of free storage. Official website has steps to setup on Windows, Mac or iOS. (Sorry, no support for Android at this time).
Up to 5GB of free storage.
Official website has steps to setup on Windows, Mac or iOS.
(Sorry, no support for Android at this time).
We recommend utilizing all of the free options from the services above so you can have as much cloud-storage space as possible. In order to save your files from corruption, data loss, power surge or a crash, you should keep them in the cloud so you can recover them on another device should disaster strike.
These apps allow you to save directly to their cloud without the need to save locally to your computer. Avoid losing your files by automatically storing them where computer crashes cannot destroy them. As a business owner, you should make sure your files are always safe from the most extreme dangers.
(FREE Google Drive-based Microsoft Office alternative)
Your 1 TB of free storage on Google Drive includes their word processing, spreadsheet and presentation apps. These apps act almost identically to their paid Microsoft counterparts (with less features, although) and the best part is that they are 100% free (unless you are using G-Suite). Type letters, create spreadsheets and design presentations without ever having to click on the Save button (there is no such button on these apps); your changes are saved automatically on Google Drive, immediately eliminating the need to make backups. All of the files created with these apps are compatible with their Microsoft counterparts, so there is no problem opening them with Microsoft Office products. Additionally, you can invite other users to edit your documents and easily allow collaboration. Instead of each individual person carrying a copy of the same file on their computers, each user can edit a document live with other users. If you only need the basics and do not need to use any of the exclusive features in Microsoft Office, Google Docs/Sheets/Slides is a great money-saving alternative that keeps your files safe. These apps are available for Android/iOS (see links at the bottom of this page).
(FREE note-taking software)
Evernote is a cloud-based digital notebook available for Windows, Mac, Android and iOS; you can use one account on 2 devices without requiring a subscription. You can create several notebooks with individual pages for you to type notes in a manner similar to Google Docs or Microsoft Word. Because Evernote’s cloud allows you to create notes on one device and view them on another, it is a great tool for taking notes when meeting with clients. This a great alternative to writing a Word document, saving it on your computer and then possibly losing it later if your system fails. Just like Google Docs, Evernote lacks a save button because your notes are automatically saved the second you stop typing. For quick note taking, Evernote allows you to clip pieces of webpages and save them into your notebook with browser extensions. You can also share notes with other people as well.
Adobe Acrobat DC
(Subscription-based, $14.99 monthly)
Adobe’s signature PDF management software, which allows you to create, combine and password protect PDF files among other things is now subscription-based and allows users to save their files to the Document Cloud (which is what “DC” in the product name stands for). PDF files in the document cloud is accessible from any computer (using the Adobe Acrobat app, the free Adobe Reader app or any major browser) or mobile device (using the Adobe Acrobat Reader apps for Android or iOS) and the software is compatible with Windows or Mac systems. If you create tons of documents using the PDF format often, the Adobe Acrobat DC service is a great way to keep your PDF files safe. As an additional bonus, you can scan documents with your phone or tablet camera using the Adobe Scan app (available for Android or iOS) which saves your scans automatically to the cloud for access on other devices.
(Subscription-based, different plans available)
The Neat scanner is a desktop scanner compatible with Windows or Mac that has 3-slots: one for documents, business cards and receipts. Your scanned documents are stored on Neat’s cloud, which allows you to access from any computer or mobile device (which can even scan documents with their camera using their Android and iOS apps). You can also collaborate with other users using their software by sharing your scanned documents; users who are sharing a file can add comments to them, eliminating the need to send emails with large attachments.
If you use your computer a lot for business purposes (and I’m sure you do), you must look into ways to keep your system backed up in case your system crashes. By saving your files to the cloud, you should not have to worry about losing them. However, you cannot save your entire computer and its operating system into the cloud so you should be able to restore your system if it ever fails. Windows 10 has several recovery tools that you can use if your system crashes, including an option to backup your entire system. On Mac systems, you have the Time Machine app which will save your entire system to a backup drive and allow you to restore it the way it was backed up. We recommend that you look into these options, as there really is no excuse to forget backing up your system.
While we have mentioned several ways for you to keep your most important files safe in the cloud, you may still want to save your data the old-fashioned way as well (for example, if you do not have internet access and need to access files on the cloud). External media certainly has not gone anywhere and you may have been using it long before cloud-based storage ever existed. Remember to eject before unplugging!
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