No one is ready for a computer disaster. We all know that it can happen. We may even have some idea about what we would do if and when it does. But in the same way that no one is truly ready for the death of a loved one, no one is truly ready for a computer disaster.
It can be a rather emotional and disruptive event. As a sole proprietor, your small business is wholly dependent on the productivity you get from your main computer. All of your client details are in that computer, as are your business transactions, receipts, tax information, accounts payable and receivable, etc…
Without warning, there is a pop and click, with something like a grinding noise. The screen starts to flicker, then dies. Your finger is jabbing at the Restart button as if your life and livelihood depends on it. You try to keep it together. But inwardly, you are stifling panic and shock. Nobody is ready for that moment. That is why you need a plan. Here is some of what that plan should include:
Know Who to Call
A computer meltdown is not the time to call that nephew of yours who is good at video games, and helped you set up your router. It is also not the time to pick up a yellow book and let your fingers do the walking. Randomly dialing strangers who claim to know something about computers is a bad idea during the best of times.
What you need is something like Ottawa IT support, a service with many years of experience providing “the tech support needed to deploy, maintain, and improve networks, servers, desktop computers, and mobile devices.“ At the time of the emergency, you are not thinking clearly. You can’t be expected to just figure it out on the spot. You need the phone number of your tech support provider written down and easy to find. Knowing who to call in an emergency should be the first part of your emergency plan.
Restore from the Cloud
It goes without saying that you need a backup. One of those backups should be cloud-based. There are two kinds of cloud-based backups: one is the full system clone where you can completely restore a computer to the point of the last backup. However, if your last backup cloned the virus that crashed your computer in the first place, you are out of luck
The other kind of cloud backup is the data backup. This is what you get from systems such as iCloud and OneDrive. Your whole system is not backed up, just your data. That includes:
It includes everything that you input into the computer via an app or service that syncs with iCloud or OneDrive. On a Mac using iCloud, that’s almost everything. Even many third-party apps use iCloud syncing. When you get a new Mac, you get your old data restored to a clean system. Make sure all of your important business is taking advantage of the cloud, especially for backup and syncing. It makes recovering from a disaster relatively seamless.
Inform Your Clients
If your computer disaster is caused by a security breach, one of the first things you need to do is inform your clients. The recent event where hackers broke into a hospital computer is a reminder that many of the bad things that happen to computers are caused by bad people doing bad things.
Patients have to be notified when their medical information is compromised. The same is true when the breach is from big retail or a small law firm. Customers have to be given a chance to change their passwords, acquire new credit cards, and choose a different service provider if that is what it takes for them to feel safe. Not only is withholding the information bad form, it can also land you in legal jeopardy.
Just because you cannot be emotionally prepared for a computer disaster does not mean that you can’t have a rational plan. Make sure your plan includes knowing who to call, restoring from a cloud backup, and informing your clients if their information has been compromised.