The employee said “We have to get the hard drive recovered from my computer, it is critical!” Understanding of course that the employee would be unable to work until the computer was restored is understandable and I assured them that we’d get everything in all haste, but the hard drive had completely failed and a business backup recovery could cost well over $2,400.
“I know but the database I use is not on the server, it’s on my computer.” Well, $2,400 it is.
The conversation with the business owner that followed was no fun for anyone. The employee had to explain why such a critical business function was not saved to the server where backup is considered a daily critical task. We had to explain the cost. The owner had to make an expensive decision.
When you are building your business and planning on employees, computers, data, and servers, you probably think it’s only natural that data is saved onto a server. That’s pretty reasonable. You might even institute a computer usage policy that demands employees put important business data on a server that is regularly backed up.
In time, even the best processes can be changed by necessity or merely because they’re forgotten. New software comes along and in haste the employee might take a default installation which puts data files on the C:\ drive (local hard drive). You may even have long-time employees who save so much email that they can’t store it on the mail server anymore, but do so locally.
We don’t always think the worst will happen to us, but sadly it does happen, and it happens to amazing workers who simply may not know that what they’re deciding today could have disastrous consequences 3 years from now when they aren’t a part of the business backup.
There are a few things you can consider doing to help with this, and some are pretty easy.
- Computer & Internet Usage Policy: This is an excellent opportunity to share with employees how important data is, and your investment in the technology in your business. Not only do you tell them to save data on the server, but you explain what the computer should be used for, and what it shouldn’t be used for. It is also important to include an express statement that the computer and everything on it belong to the company.
- Buy computers with smaller hard drives: If not saving to the server is a real problem, then avoid buying computers with the biggest hard drives. Many office computers will run fine for years on just 200-300 GB of storage, but most computers come with 1000 GB or more.
- Data Monitoring: A service which can monitor what kinds of files are being saved to the employee’s workstation can be helpful in letting you know if a problem is beginning. This same software can give you reports on internet & computer usage, to measure employee compliance with your policies.
- Cloud Backup: Storage is becoming more affordable all the time, and the latest security methods can provide some real peace of mind. You can choose automated cloud backup for owners, key employees or your whole office. Buying in quantity can also reflect some savings.
Setting expectations with employees is most important, and making sure we all communicate as we grow can help avoid some of these problems. Technology can really help when we just need to keep working and not have to worry about who’s saving what data where.