Who’s Got Your Back(up)?

February 2015


Photo from iStock

Photo from iStock

The other day I watched in shock as all of the icons on my desktop disappeared. Then my laptop shut down and refused to start. Working in information security, my first thought was a malware invasion. My second was: What if it is a variation of CryptoLocker, the popular ransomware that holds data hostage until you fork over some bitcoins? Or a zero-day exploit for which my antivirus software has no update?

Like most professionals, my work life is more online than offline, and my work is stored electronically within devices or in the cloud. Thankfully, we at Twirling Tiger Press have backups in case one of us, or our equipment, goes down.

Here are a few items in our business continuity toolkit that you might consider adding to yours:

•  A fire-proof lockbox for critical and highly confidential business documents, such as personnel records and tax data that requires paper. Both Maureen and I have one of these so in the event of a fire or flood, we still have (relatively) easy access to these forms. It’s also important that we follow best practices when it comes to guarding our employees’ and contractors’ sensitive data.

•  A cloud-based backup service that automatically backs up daily data on our computers. We decided on Carbonite, in part because its Personal Plans  were affordable and fit our needs. It also has been recommended by some tech gurus we appreciate. This is one reason I didn’t panic when my system went down; I knew I could access my documents using another computer.

•  An external hard drive…just in case. In addition to my laptop and tablet, I sometimes work off our family desktop computer, which isn’t covered by Carbonite. So every month I back up my files to an external hard drive hooked up to the computer. It takes less than five minutes and gives me peace of mind (and easy retrieval of archived files).

•  Someone who can quickly fill in on mission-critical tasks. When you are a small business, you wear many hats. It’s important that in the event you are out for an extended period of time, there’s someone who can take over your responsibilities. Maureen and I have redundancy in leadership. We talk twice weekly about what is going on in the company and with our clients. She also has on contract Martha P., another highly talented graphic designer who has agreed to fill in on short notice should Maureen need immediate leave for a family emergency or extended illness. I too have two managing editors to serve as backups.

An hour after my laptop went down, I called TTPI’s unofficial IT staffer, also known as my husband. He suggested I take out the battery and reinstall it, which did the trick. I was lucky. But I also was covered. Even if my laptop needed to be replaced, I was going to hit all of my tasks despite the disruption. It’s nice to know someone’s got my back(up).