You’ve probably heard it before – it’s important to back up your data. Of course it’s prudent to back up your computer in case it’s broken or stolen, and external hard drives are now cheap and easy to use. But your online data is valuable to your business, and it needs to be backed up as well – even though it does not reside on your own computer.
The Internet is a bit like the Wild West.
There’s not much of a sheriff and few opportunities for legal redress, because no country has jurisdiction and scam artists can be anywhere in the world. Viruses that spread over the Internet no longer just target your own computer, but now target websites and web-based software. Even the best website, if it’s not regularly maintained and backed-up, can be vulnerable.
On the Internet, nobody is safe.
Last year I had to put my personal blogs on hold while I worked for a political campaign. Six months of no maintenance went by and then I received Google alerts saying that my blog was generating posts directing people to purchase Chinese fabrics. Even though I had backed up, my blog was thoroughly infected and I had to go back to an old backup to restore my data. Unfortunately, the old backup was corrupted. It took several days of tracking down and hand-editing old databases to restore my data. From this I learned several lessons that I’d like to share with you.
- Maintain and update your website. Just like computer software, web-based programs like WordPress are regularly updated when security vulnerabilities are identified. If you don’t update your software, those security holes can be exploited by hackers or by malicious software, like viruses.
- Back up regularly. Even if you don’t often update your site it’s important to back up. Sometimes a virus takes awhile before you notice it, so you may have to go to older backups in order to get virus-free data.
- Store multiple backups in multiple locations. WordPress offers a very nice XML export that is a perfectly serviceable backup. However, the XML could be infected or not have downloaded all the way, or the file itself could have become corrupted or lost on the hard drive. I now back up not only the content through the XML export, but also the database and all of my files. This ensures that I have multiple copies of everything I created and own, so that I can recreate my websites using different tools and I am prepared for any kind of problem.
Backing up can be a chore without a fun reward, but you don’t want to wait to learn the hard way that multiple backups make for a solid site. As they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure! Back up your sites, store them in multiple locations, and update your web-based software to ensure that your valuable web presence can be restored no matter what the Internet throws at you.
Can Artsy Geek help?
Yes! We offer website back up and maintenance services so that they don’t have to worry about losing valuable data. We urge our clients to consider this service so they can sleep soundly at night knowing their web presence is secure.