29 August 2018

Is your data natural disaster-proof? A guide for glaziers

A natural disaster can have a huge impact on your glazing business. It could affect your employees as well as their homes and families, damage your premises, bring business to a halt... To name a few! While there are lots of ways in which you probably disaster-proof your business already, such as having an insurance policy, your business' data may not be stored as safely as you think.

Why bother?

Your data is the life blood of your business. We're not just talking about things like names and addresses (though those are important) but also your financial records, tax information, customer details, templates and more. Getting it tidied up and secure may not be a fun task but it's one that's worth doing!

Always have a backup

If you're using software to run your glazing business, you're already one step ahead! Paper records may seem quick and efficient now but in the event of a disaster, you'll soon realize how inefficient they can be.

If you're using a program like Microsoft Excel but only saving your files locally (aka on your computer) then you're opening yourself up to risk. Not just from big events like natural disasters — things like technical problems and theft are also big risks! Make sure you're backing up your files, either by taking a copy of everything on your machine regularly onto a separate hard drive that you store off-site or by using a cloud-based storage solution (or both!). If you're storing your backup at home, and home is only five minutes from the office, consider whether or not this would be sufficient if a natural disaster hit your area. A secure, professionally hosted cloud solution may cost more but ultimately provide better protection.

Our glass software (Smart-Toolbox) is purpose-built for glaziers and backs up your data automatically, saving you the hassle of doing it and providing peace of mind.

Have a plan in place

Plan, plan, plan! Plan how you're going to store your data as well as how you're going to access it and resume business in the event of a disaster. Depending on the kind of damage sustained, glaziers may be in demand! If so, you'll want to be prepared so you can get your business up and running as quickly as possible. Hopefully they're plans you never need but it's better to be safe than sorry.

As part of your planning, you may find it useful to assess the kind of data your glazing business has and prioritize it. Backing up everything might be a time consuming and expensive task, especially if you've been in business for awhile as data quickly builds up. If you know what information is business critical, you can make a point of keeping that backup up-to-date and secure then worry a little less about the rest of it. Some businesses find it helpful to let their accountant take the lead on prioritizing data as they interact with business-critical information on a day-to-day basis.

Other useful tips

  • Store computers on top of desks, rather than on the floor, to protect them from potential flood damage.
  • Buy a UPS (uninterruptible power supply) so you have time to shut down your computer properly in the event of a power outage (here are a few options).
  • Learn how to remove how your hard drive so you don't have to take the whole computer with you in a rush (here's a tutorial).
  • If your business can afford it, talk to a professional. An expert in data security will be able to create a solution tailored to your business' requirements, but it will come with a price tag.

Natural disasters are often impossible to predict and often it's too late to get things in order once you know something's coming. Spend a little time now getting prepared — you won't regret it!

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