So today, March 31st is World Backup Day, an initiative created to increase awareness and encourage people across the world to backup their files. It run’s with the tag line “Don’t be and April Fool. Be Prepared. Backup your files on March 31st.” which I think is just an absolutely awesome idea! Given that I used to work for a leisure management software company I have come across countless numbers of clients who lost every bit of their customer/member data when the dinosaur, ahem, I mean PC, they were storing the database on crashed. Sometimes files could be recovered but sadly often they could not and without a backup copy they ended up loosing everything – customer names, addresses, financial history, order history even gym membership details like renewal dates – it’s so scary to witness and, I can only imagine, even more horrific to try to manage your way through.

We talk about member data above but lets be honest it could be anything – family photographs, college assignments, work presentations, marketing material – anything! I’m a bit paranoid about backing up as a result of the experience I have but even so I never did it nearly enough. I used to do it monthly but given the hours I put in I can rack up quite a bit of work on a monthly basis! The fear of loosing a report or presentation I had spent hours working on was ever present and I found myself emailing copies of work in progress to my own email account so I had an up to date current version in case anything went wrong! Madness I know. I was chatting with Damien, one of my business IT consultants, over a coffee one day having pulled an all nighter on a chunk of work and told him that I had about 6 different versions all sitting in my email account for fear of loosing it mid project. He laughed and said I was overcomplicating what could be a very simple solution… (big shock there eh?).

Now, in my own defence I had previously looked at a few remote backup options but they all seemed to be geared towards large companies and not a one person show like me so it seemed like a cost I couldn’t quite justify. Damien suggested I use Squirrel Backups which is a product his company provided and offered me 2 months free to play about with it and see if I liked it. Never one to look a gift-horse in the mouth I thought why not and got my account set up within the day. It basically allows you to select which files and folders on your PC/Laptop/Mac that you want backed up and then it runs in the background when you are online taking live backups and storing them remotely.  I’ll be honest and say after my first couple of hours ticking all the files and folders I wanted to have backed up and logging on and “testing” if it really worked I kind of just forgot about it and went on about my work.

Every now and again I would log onto my dashboard to check everything was in order but really all it did was remove the worry of loosing my files. I decided I’d stick with it for the peace of mind alone but never really had a need to grab anything from it… until the summer! The weather was nice and my productivity was low, distracted by the sunshine and happy posts on facebook I decided to take my office across to Costa Coffee to sit out in the sun and blog for the afternoon. It was lovely and feeling quite smug about my ability to do this I packed up when finished and threw my laptop into my bag along with my bottle of water…. #EpicFail. By the time I got the 5 minutes across the road home I noticed water streaming from my bag and realised the cap was not on the water properly. I rescued my MacBook but it appeared to be a little late – it was fried (not so smug anymore!). Now thankfully being the cautious person that I am I did have my laptop insured on my business policy so I went about getting it repaired or replaced but in the meantime I was computer-less and even worse data-less! I was due to deliver a manual handling and CPR training course that week and now had none of my presentations or videos. UGH. Panicking slightly I rang Damien who told me to just log onto my dashboard from another machine and download the files I needed from my backup. It was that simple and it was ALL there, my presentations, video files, everything – it was awesome. So apart form having to reacquaint myself with windows and a PC it was rather painless. I managed to continue work for 10 days before my trusty MacBook was repaired and returned to me and there was nothing I had lost. Suddenly this seemed like the most valuable part of my business.

Earlier this year I was onsite about to deliver a Sports First Aid Course when again my  now not so trusty MacBook refused to turn on. It had been working fine the night before but just would not switch on and with 8 hours of theory to get through I felt a little uneasy entertaining my participants sans presentation. I managed to get onto my dashboard via my mobile phone, got my presentation, emailed it across to myself and used a machine on site to deliver the training. That was the second time Squirrel Backups had saved my bacon and kept me earning income! So needless to say I am an advocate now, I love that it’s always there taking a copy of my work and that it just runs quietly in the background without me having to worry did I remember to run it.

I was speaking to Damien about this only last week when it was he who told me about World Backup Day and I thought what a cool opportunity to spread the word and share the importance of backing up. Even better, U Want Networks, Damien’s business,  has kindly offered a whopping 3 months free to all Corner Shop Gym readers who sign up for Squirrel Backups before 30th April 2015  by filling out your details on their website here.

Ultimately my message to you is to please please just use the day tomorrow to back-up your files somewhere off your main laptop or PC. You never know when it can save your business and prevent loss of income. #WorldBackupDay