15 Nov Back Up Frequency
Regular backups are the most efficient, cheapest insurance for safeguarding the data. As a rule of thumb, the data should be backed up as frequently as you would not want to re-enter what you have done. At a minimum the data should be backed up at the end of each day. It only takes loosing data once to make this a habit.
In this age of technology and software backing up computer data files often is imperative. Not only should the data be backed up, the back up copies should be taken off site regularly.
A common mistake is to make a back up on the hard drive (when your hard drive crashes you could loose both the data and the back up) or to make the back up and leave it with the computer (if there is a fire, both the computer and the back up are burned). Cycling back ups so that if one is damaged another (although older) still exists is also a smart procedure to have in place.
One procedure that seems to work well is to back up the data at the end of the day and put the back up into a purse or briefcase (i.e. to be taken off site) then cycle these back ups. Also, consider leaving the back up from the end of the week, month, quarter, etc. off site. Keep in mind that a damaged or corrupt data file can behave quite normally for a long period of time. Regular checks of the data integrity help to catch this problem sooner. But the situation still remains that if a file is damaged, an old (maybe even several weeks or months ago) back up may be needed as a good “starting point.” Even an old back up is better than creating a new file from scratch. There is always a warning from the software if the same file is simply overwritten with a new back up. The reason for this warning is the potential of overwriting a good back up with a back up of a damaged file.
Another procedure that may work well is to e-mail the file to an off site computer. For example, the home e-mail address of the owner, the accountant, etc. There are many services that can help automate this process. One of the more common is www.gotomypc.com. For clients who use an accountant signed up with Remote Accounting Solutions, the charge to the accountant is the same regardless of how often the client uses the service in a month, making it an easy way to keep a current back up off site.
Especially if using diskettes, attempt to restore the data periodically to be sure the back up and media are both functioning properly. When the data actually needs to be restored is not the time to find out the back up has not been functioning properly.
The newer versions of QuickBooks have an off-site back up option through the internet. The service that is used is connected. It is possible to sign up directly with connected for backing up the data from the hard drive in general, including the QuickBooks file. The cost varies based on how much data will be backed up. It can work in the background when connected to the internet, or it can be started when the shut down command is given.