During a conference I presented to last month, in one of my sessions I asked, "How many of you back your information up?" Less then half the room raised their hands. And then I asked, "Have you backed up within the last week?" 5 people raised their hands out of a group of almost 60 people Of those 5, only 3 were using offsite, cloud based back-up systems.
These are people that have been in business for years. They KNOW they should be backing up and yet they don't because its never important enough to take the few minute daily or weekly and do it until it's to late.
Yes it's a scary topic to talk about, but it can happen to your restaurant.
I remember 15 years ago having my hard drive crash on my Macintosh. I lost all my costing information, my excel sheets, my order schedules, my recipes, my vendor contact lists, my inventories, my staff schedules, The specials I was going to run for the next month, amongst other things. I was lucky enough that a local computer repair shop managed to recover all my information.
But it was two weeks of absolute hell while the computer was in the shop, trying to rely on printed copies of things, trying to rewrite the kitchen staff schedule because it hadn't been printed out yet and having to wing ordering food for a rehearsal party of 150 later that week when we didn't even have a copy of the original menu to work with. After that everything got backed up on floppy disks. The thought kind of makes me smile now. Floppy disks.
I've talked to many a business owner who says, "oh yes I back up/" Well where do they back up? They have a portable expanded hard drive that sits next to their computer.
That's great if your computer crashes, you have a backup. But what happens if there is a fire, a break-in or the sprinkler system goes off in the middle of the night.
With the wide availability of inexpensive cloud based backup services out there, there is no excuse to not be backing up. I do recommend backing up off line as well, but keep multiple up to date copies and keep them in secure places.
Your restaurant should have a fire safe specifically put aside for back-ups and for your employee's personal information like job applications and review sheets. Applications and personal information may have things like social security numbers, photocopies of drivers licenses and personal home information in them. You want to protect your employees from identity theft while keeping your business information secure at the same time.
High rated small fire safes are not a lot of money, and well worth the small investment and can protect digital files. They also have the advantage of, even if small, of weighing quite a lot. Not something the casual thief can walk off with easily.
There are scores of cloud based hosting services out there, and dozens of types of offline backups. Do your research on them, read some reviews, get feedback from others before buying. What do they offer, what is their pricing, what kind of security features they have. Some have file sharing features and some don't.
If you work out even what some of the more expensive ones cost even per month, and then work out how much business you could lose due to information loss, it's well worth the cost.
Online back-ups I recommend. (many of these offer several GB free hosting)
Dropbox: https://www.dropbox.com/ 2 GB Free, then three levels after that starting at $99.00 a year.
I personally like Dropbox because I can sync files with my other computers as well as being able to access them online from anywhere. Some of the other backup systems offer that as well.
There are also free non fee based online backup services out there, be wary of security encryption and also what if any they offer for support.
Some statistics garnered from across the web.
Take a few minutes to really think about what would happen to your restaurant in the event of a data loss. What would you lose? And can you recover from it if you did lose valuable information? How much business could you lose? Ask yourself what the repercussions are of losing valuable information? Is it worth the time to back-up?