This post is for those of you who aren’t geeks and don’t have an IT tech on staff. That should cover at least 90% of people in their first year of business.
Recently, Pam Slim of Escape from Cubicle Nation, found herself high and dry, technologically. She had lost her Internet connection for a day. It set her to thinking about technology contingency planning, and she made me think I should blog about it.
If you’ve been listening to everyone’s advice, you’ve been backing up your data frequently to protect yourself in the event of a hard drive failure. That’s about as far as most people’s “backup” planning goes. But other technology traumas lurk in hiding for the unprepared. Pam asked her readers if they know:
* What your backup plan would be if you lost access to the internet?
* What your file backup plan is if your computer begins to smoke and grinds to a halt?
* What your process is to create a hard copy and electronic copy backup of your calendar, contacts, financial statements and customer lists?
* Where your important paperwork is stored in the case of a fire or other catastrophe?
Pam’s workaround that day was to sign up for T-Mobile access at her local Starbucks and do her email there until her Internet service was restored.
Murphy’s Law applies at some point or another in business technology. It just does. If something can go wrong, sooner or later it probably will. Here are some steps you can take to minimize the impact of the inevitable technology glitch on your business:
Get a computer tech – The time to find a good computer tech is before you need one, not after something goes wrong. You’ll want someone who can handle hardware as well as software problems. Usually that’s one and the same person. If you have a laptop you can take it to someone’s shop/lab. But if you have a tower and monitor, find someone who does house calls and who has a reputation for being highly responsive.
Get wireless – If you have a laptop, you need to have a wireless LAN card and an acoount with a service provider. If you don’t have a laptop, seriously consider investing in one, especially if you spend any time outside your office with clients.
Get a PDA – A handy way to manage your calendar and contacts is with a handheld device that can easily back up to your computer — and synchronize your database frequently. That way, if your computer is down, you still can call clients and vendors and get to your appointments on time.
Consider online storage – While I’m reluctant to put sensitive information on someone else’s server because of security, there are numerous reasons why remote storage for some of your data makes a lot of sense — say, for instance, if you had a fire at your business. For sensitive information, put it on CDs and into a safety deposit vault, and update it frequently.
I wish you all “good technology days” and the wisdom to assume that every day won’t be one.