Tips for Protecting Technology Investments

<b>Tips for Protecting Technology Investments</b>“></td>
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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – Small business users across the country will face a major decision with the pending release of Microsoft Windows 7: Upgrade or purchase a completely new computer.

Regardless of the decision, business users should be certain that all their data are fully backed up through state-of-the-art disk-imaging technology that takes a complete snapshot of the computer — files, applications, settings, and operating system. If you’re a small business owner, whether home-based or with an office full of employees, it is critical to protect this vital part of your work life.

Without an IT person on staff, small business owners require straightforward and cost effective backup alternatives.

Tips to good backup practices:

* Start with the basics. First, take stock of three things: what electronic data you have (invoices, email, photographs, customer records, marketing materials); where it is located (one main computer, on different devices, or in multiple physical locations); and how often you use it. For instance, if you just need to save electronic copies of tax returns from five years ago, the solution will be very different than if all of your files are online and you access them every hour. Also, don’t forget to do the same with the countless applications you’ve installed and the settings you’ve configured to get your computer just right.

* Ask the right questions. Arm yourself with a list of questions to help make sure you’re getting the right data protection for your business needs before you begin your research. Consider what option gives you enough space for everything you need to protect now, yet also provide plenty of room (gigabytes) for your business (and your data needs) to grow. What are you protecting your data from — fire, flood, computer failure — and what options are best for this?

Determine how long you can afford to be offline and how fast you will need to recover your data and in what priority. Ask

a local computer expert, or

start your research online at Web sites like Consumer Reports (www.consumerreports.org) or CNET (www.cnet.com) to find out these answers specific to your business.

* Protect your data — everything. As you prepare to purchase backup software, look for features that allow users to transfer files easily to a new device, computer or server, or wipe an old device clean to remove sensitive information before its recycled or donated. One example is Acronis True Image ($49.99, available at www.acronis.com).

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