Cloud Backup Or Sync?

Whether your data is stored in The Cloud, on your Desktop or on your Server, you should be backing it up at least daily.

There are a myriad of backup options available on the Desktop, from Windows NT Backup to Symantec and other more advanced options.

Some are mirror image backups, some are file by file. As well as backing up we should also be testing our Restore processes to make sure our backup files are not corrupt and that we know how to restore if and when that disaster does strike!

These days, thanks to The Cloud, backing up has become more simplified and in some cases, more secure and accessible than ever.

By signing up to a Cloud based backup agency such as Livebackup.com.au or Cloudbackup.net.au, or some Dekstop providers such as McAfee, Western Digital or Symantec, you can be backing up to your very own virtual server in a matter of minutes. Should disaster strike, restoration is simply then a matter of obtaining a new PC, getting back on the Internet and signing in to your chosen service.

However, what if you need a more instant approach? What if it were free?

Lucky for consumers the Desktop to Cloud Sync market is being hotly contested at the moment mainly between Dropbox, Box and Google Drive. Depending on the service and the offer you take up on you could find yourself with up to 50GB of free storage! Now the main advantage of these services is that you can install a synching agent onto your Desktop meaning that every time that file changes, as you are working on it, the synched copy is being sent up to The Cloud!

Restoration is also extremely simple as you can login to these systems from any Desktop and even almost any mobile phone or tablet!

If you are looking for a combination of both a robust backup solution and local sync service, then something like Sugarsync might serve you best.

Which ever service you choose, please make sure you are backing up all of your important business files, including your Accounting and CRM databases, and also ensure to test your Restore methods and regularly backup your backup files for a second layer of security!

Cloudbackuping.com discuss how to choose an online backup solution here in this video.

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Great Free Cloud Apps – Dropbox

Promising a focus on productivity and useful apps for business, we are pleased to Blog today about one of our favourites, Dropbox.

If you ever find yourself constantly copying files onto USB, or reaching for your phone’s connection cable to copy files back and forth, only to realise you forgot something, or the drive doesn’t work when you get home, then you need Dropbox.

Dropbox is a very simple and secure file sharing and synching tool. You can install Dropbox on your PC, in fact, on all of your PC’s and phones and tablets. This places a folder under your Profile or your My Documents, called My Dropbox.

BASIC USE

All you have to do to start using this simple tool, is to copy your files into your Dropbox folder, you can even create any folders you like under your My Dropbox, as shown above.

All these files and folders then synch automatically up to the Dropbox server, nothing  more to do. You can access your files then via your browser at http://www.dropbox.com, or by installing Dropbox on your home or work PC, your Android phones and tablets.

It’s that simple!

Although, it doesn’t stop there.

FILE SHARING

One of Dropbox’s major strengths is the ease at which you can become a file sharing master. You see, Dropbox allows you to share a file or folder to anyone, simply by sending them an email, which it does for you!

Simply right click any file folder in your Dropbox, go down to Dropbox, then Share The File or Folder. Click on that, enter in the email of the recipient, and voila! They will then receive an email, if they don’t have Dropbox, it will install for them (and give you an extra 250MB for sharing), synch your files up with your recipient, and you have it. Now anything either one of you place in said shared folder, will be automatically synched back and forth!

As mentioned above, every time you send an invitation to somebody not already using Dropbox, you BOTH gain 250MB in data!

A useful tip for file sharing for business, is in the case of an Accounting Practice, where it’s difficult to obtain client files quickly. Traditionally these are sent in by CD or USB stick, and can take a while to receive. Not anymore, simply setup a secure Dropbox folder for your clients, then anytime you need their files, simply ask them to place a backup file into the Dropbox.

The uses for Business are seriously endless.

WEB SHARING

If you ever find the services of “free” file sharing hosts a bit daunting or insecure, then Dropbox has you covered there as well.

Under your My Dropbox folders you will find a Public folder.

Anything placed under the Public folder can instantly be shared to anyone in the World, even posted on websites, by right clicking the file and selecting Copy Public Link. It’s that simple.

Post up your Public Link on to your email, forum, blog or website for anyone with the link to open or download the file.

DROPBOX FOR ANDROID

So of course, the reason for this review being on my Android Blog (N-droid.net), is that Dropbox For Android is the perfect companion for your Droid.

Whether it be a phone or tablet, once you start Dropboxing you just can’t stop! Useful for toting around your Uni Assignments, Work Presentations, Music Library or favourite images.

Access all your files on all of your devices!

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Best of all, Dropbox is free! You can pay for more storage, but why not invite all of your friends, and grow your storage limit for free!

Dropbox is available on the Google Play Store here or you can scan the QR below

Happy Dropboxing!

How Secure Is Your Disaster Recovery Plan?

Disasters, we never exactly plan for them to occur, but we should!

By the very nature of most disasters, recovery can take some time. Even with the best laid plans, without a complete and tested Disaster Recovery Plan (DRP), most small businesses would struggle to ever get back to where they were before disaster struck.

What should you be backing up?

At the very least, all vital and operational documents, registers, and databases, including your Accounting package, should be backed up on a nightly basis.

A solid DRP for a small business would include a combination of onsite and offsite (cloud) backup solutions.

A Network Attached Storage Unit (NAS) of 1 or 2TB in size would suffice most businesses, which if the backup is set to Incremental, these units will usually hold up to 3 to 6 months worth of data.

The onsite incremental backup should be set to run every night, and should also backup the company email store.

A combination of the onsite as well as an offsite solution should be adopted for an all round DRP.

Your insurance company will love you for it.

Getting back to business following a disaster

Depending on the severity of the disaster, you could still find yourself requiring cash flow to purchase new computers and servers on which to operate, well ahead of the insurance company coming to inspect your site.

Add to this, sourcing replacement copies of your software and if necessary, serial numbers, etc.. You then need to factor in the time and costs to have all of the software reinstalled and configured.

Getting up and going again can be a real challenge, and most small businesses would simply not be able to cope, with limited cash flow available at such a time.

How can I best shield my business from disasters and make recovery easy?

The simplest solution to an all round protection policy available to all businesses large and small, is to operate as much of your business via a Cloud Provider.

Generally speaking, your email (unless you host your own Exchange server) and your internet banking, are two protocols you already operate via the cloud.

Why not consider your accounting package, via QuickBooks Hosted or Cashbook Online, Xero or Saasu, amonst others.

For your Office documents, you may consider Office365 (which offers virtual Exchange hosting), or a free solution such as Google Docs.

Quicker recovery via the cloud

Via any of the above cloud solution pr0viders, or you may choose a Private Cloud solution to host all of your business requirements, getting back online need be as easy as going to your local Internet Cafe or logging on via your iPad or home PC.