Anyone old enough to remember President Reagan will recognize his famous saying for negotiating a deal with the old Soviet Union. In today’s world, where outsourcing is more and more of an option for all areas of business, trust but verify is a rule you must live by.
I recently learned again the importance of this rule. For the last four years I have been paying $50 every month to have all of our data backed up. I never needed it until this weekend, when we were hit with a ransomware virus that encrypted most of our data. Then I learned that no backup was really being done past 2011! My tech guy had never checked up on it, and neither had I.
OK—I know better! But as the saying on the beer koozie I have on my shelf states, “I am starting to think I will never be old enough to know better.”
Now I am old school and print everything, so we really didn’t lose anything other than the time it will take to re-enter things. But if I had just taken the time to verify that the data was really being backed up, we wouldn't even need to do that.
The main lesson to learn is that malicious data attacks are happening more and more often with results that can seriously hurt your business. We were lucky. But I have a client whose business was seriously impacted when his QuickBooks file became corrupt, and he had no backup.
Based on the increased threat, here are key items that you, the business owner, must attend to now:
- Back up your key data now. Online backups are better than local.
- Do a second local backup of your accounting system. Your customer and financial data is too important to lose.
- Print and keep hard copies of all important documents, especially customer documents.
- And finally, verify all backups. Periodically try to recover a document from your backups to make sure everything is working properly.