Thursday, January 11, 2007

A word or two about data backup

Every company, large or small, should use some kind of backup for essential records and database files. More times than not, a company will have an automated back up schedule on a daily basis for important records. They may also perform complete system backups on a weekly basis or biweekly basis. These backups are also normally stored on site or on a network for easy access, although they may occasionally send copies to a more secure offsite location.

Your back up schedule ultimately depends on what your business does and how important your data is. Therefore, you should ask yourself -- are you backing up your data enough? Be sure to discuss your back up schedule with your IT professional by following these four guidelines below:

  1. Back up your most important files at least once a day. In some cases, such as vital database files, you may want to back them up even more often.

  2. If you back up files to a Zip drive or other portable media, rotate your backups between two or three different disks. That way, if a disk fails you still have additional (albeit slightly less recent) backups.

  3. Move backup media to a secure location, such as a fireproof safe or cabinet, on a regular schedule.

  4. Use software to manage your backups. Good backup software can save individual files that you choose, it can automatically save all files that have changed since the last backup or it can back up the entire system on whatever schedule you select. Many online backup services offer scheduled backups - an especially convenient feature if you're using a slow modem connection to upload your backups at night or on weekends.

  5. Finally, there are some online services providing data backup that are proving to be an ideal solution. Mozy ( is a free service (up to 2gb) and has a very simple interface and robust solution.
Any way you choose, backing up your data is like changing your socks. After a few months of ignoring it, you will have issues.

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Free Alternative to Microsoft

Most of the software from Microsoft is rock-solid, also expensive. Here are some alternatives that are also robust - and FREE:

Firefox Browser (alternative to Internet Explorer)

Thunderbird Email Client (alternative to Outlook Express)

Thursday, January 4, 2007

Online Tools/Resources

Here is a list of online tools that will help your business.

  • Create a blog like the one you are reading. It's very easy and free. Share your knowledge with your collegues and customers.
  • Digg is a resource to find popular articles that probably won't show up in major media. You can view Top 10 articles by categories. This blog will have a digg link eventually.
  • Constant contact is a email newsletter service. It has many rich features to create text or html emails for your customer base. The best feature is email address management. You can create multiple lists based on your audience. Cost is about $15/mo. for up to 500 email addresses.