Backing up your business files regularly is recommended in case a hard disk suddenly fails, a ransomware attack occurs, or another type of disaster destroys your data. However, not every file on your system is essential and needs to be included in these backups. You can save both time and space by backing up only the files critical to the operation of your business.
Here are five types of files that you should be routinely backing up:
1. Accounting Records
Credit card transactions, receipts, invoices, bills, and other accounting records should be backed up regularly. Losing any of these records can be disastrous. For example, you could lose revenue if invoices are destroyed, or you could miss payments because bills were lost. Worse yet, losing accounting records might get your business into legal trouble.
2. Payroll and Personnel Records
Employees' payroll records contain pertinent information such as number of hours worked and accrued vacation time, so they need to be backed up at regular intervals. The same holds true for personnel files since they contain important information that might change from one day to the next (e.g., new hires, raises). Backing up these records regularly is easier than trying to recollect this information if it is lost.
3. Customer Files
Any files that you use to provide products or services to your customers should be frequently backed up. This includes records containing information about your customers (e.g., contact data, preferences) and files containing work being done for them (e.g., requested reports, assessments). Having to ask your customers to resubmit information or missing a deadline because you lost several days' worth of work can shake your customers' confidence in your business.
4. Business Communications
Employees send and receive new emails, instant messages, letters, and other types of business communication every day. If you do not back them up regularly, you risk losing information that your business needs to operate. For instance, you might lose an interoffice email noting that a change needs to be made to a work procedure.
5. Frequently Updated Files
Business files that are frequently updated should be included in your regular backups. For example, if your business relies on project management software, it is important to back up those files routinely to avoid duplicate work, missed deadlines, and other problems.