The biggest most expensive mistake

What is the biggest, most expensive mistake people make with their IT?

Is it eating over the keyboard? (how many of you are sheepish right now?) – NO

Is it trying to fix it themselves without taking it to a professional? This ranks high, but not number one.

Is it ignoring messages on their computer – NO, NO, NO.

Inside of a hard diskIt is this – how many of you have both backed up your data AND TESTED the backup? Yes, I know I have written about this before , but we still get customers bringing in laptops or PCs who ask us to back it up before we do any work on the system. When we get it on the bench – it’s too late. They needed to back up before the hard disk drive went to silicon heaven (thanks Red Dwarf), or before the USB drive flashed its last flash. Data recovery is EXPENSIVE. Backing up is cheap!

To give you an idea, data recovery on a hard drive can easily reach £500! But why do I need a backup I hear you say – my PC, Mac, netbook etc. has never let me down. Now let me clear up one myth straight away. Apples have much the same electronics inside as PCs, e.g. the same manufacturers make hard disk drives for Apple and Windows based devices. Hard disk drives are mechanical and are by nature fallible. That is why in servers (which cannot afford failure) there should always be at least one extra drive with a copy of the main data on ready to take over at a moment’s notice. It is called a fail safe, or fault tolerance. Most ‘real’ servers have at least 3 hard drives configured.

Simon's laptopOf course, it does not always take a device failure to cause chaos. How about a system failure? Coffee spillage in your equipment (no device likes that one), or dropping from height? We have seen a few laptops with that problem.

Lightning damage

Or perhaps a fire? Oh that’s all right, my office has fire sensors and nobody smokes – no problems here. Does your next door neighbour have the same level of protection as you and take the same care as you? What if you had a lightning strike on power cables? The picture on the right shows the damage that is not visible outside the computer. No amount of buying the most expensive equipment going would protect that!

So what can you do about it? Firstly, all your IT equipment should be protected with a surge protection mains strip. These are very inexpensive (call us if you need help finding them from your local emporium or installing). Secondly, you need a backup. Now it gets like ordering a coffee – which one of the 100 on the list do you want? Which options within those do you go for? Do you need cloud based or local backup or both? What’s the benefit of free over chargeable? You get the picture. This is where we at KTS Computers Ltd come in. We can come round and discuss your options and explain in plain English which solution is best for you.

For those that want, here are some key questions to ask a supplier of on-line backup:-

  • In what country is the data stored?
  • How secure is it?
  • How quickly can the data be accessed if needed (we have seen some reasonably cheap backup software that would take over a week to recover just 30GB of data, obviously no good if you are running a business).
  • Can it back up my server?
  • Can it backup both Apples and Windows?
  • Can it back up ‘open’ files?
  • How easy is it to download data if needed (this is where testing is required).
  • Is there someone on the end of the phone when I need them (weekends, late night)?
  • EU compliancy?
  • Is your privacy respected?
  • Is it reliable (look online for comments)
  • and the deal breaker – is it easy to use?

If you are worried about any aspect of your IT then just email it to us at – even if you’re not a customer. We’ll do our best to send you a response by email, or phone us on 01480 469019.

Stay safe and if in doubt – send me a question on Twitter  @Ask_Ken

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