I will be the first to confess that I have not always been a good steward in ensuring adequate backup protection for my personal data. However, since I am sometimes required to switch between various laptops or workstations for the purposes of testing out new hardware such as new SSDs, I was forced to figure out a reliable yet simple way of ensuring that all my data is properly backed up and accessible from various machines.
While not all my methods might be applicable for your small and medium business, I hope that some of the tips below will at least give you some inspiration as to how to approach this subject.
Real-time backup: It is bad enough to lose your work due to not having any backups, but it leaves a really bad taste in the mouth when work is irreplaceably lost because the last backup occurred just before some crucial changes were made. Where personal data is concerned, it is no longer practical to depend on batch backups on a weekly or even a daily basis.
As I have belabored in the past, make sure you go for a backup system such as SugarSync that offers "automatic, continuous, real time backup" in order to protect your files. Of course, this might not be practical or possible with certain server-based setups, though those should at least have the benefit of RAID systems and regular off-site backups.
Central location: As opposed to having your documents and other important files strewn all over the hard disk drive, I would recommend that a folder be created in which all the important files are organized and saved.
By the same token, SMB employees should also be trained to save all work-related documents in a specified folder. The understanding that should be clearly communicated -- and regularly reinforced -- is that only the files in the specified folder(s) will be restorable in the event of any problems. Done properly, this should eliminate lost productivity and missed deadlines resulting from hard disk crashes.
Adding the entire My Documents folder or the Desktop folder to the back regimen will work, too, except that security rights can make such an arrangement cumbersome if you use multiple user accounts like I do. Also, restoring on another workstation that might not be a new rig might result in overwritten files or pre-installed applications encountering problems.
User-created files and other documents are one of the primarily outputs from computers in an SMB, and this is the reason I spent a little more time on this topic. In my next blog, I will share on how I deal with some other areas that also require backups -- specifically browser bookmarks, e-mails, and other miscellaneous application data.
In the meantime, you might want to check out an earlier blog that outlines some backup strategies for the SMB.