Q: We are worried that we would lose all our records if our main computer failed. How do we go about protecting our data?
A: Data backup is a common issue for charities. Many small organisations find they don't have the systems in place to back up their data properly, but a backup process is simple to establish and will offer protection should the worst happen. It can also be done cheaply.
Data has traditionally been backed up on a computer in the office, but online storage is becoming an affordable and secure alternative.
So how do you choose which data to back up? The best idea is to set aside half a day to get organised. Assess what data you most need and how often you need to back it up. It's good to get experienced outside help to guide you through this process.
An audit of your machines and software is a good place to start.
Follow the guidelines on the London Advice Services Alliance's Knowledgebase website, www.ictknowledgebase.org.uk/ictmanagement.
A volunteer IT adviser might be able to suggest general improvements to make your network more stable.
It's important to keep really crucial information under your control and within reach. Start a file of essential information including passwords, licences, policies, procedures and any renewal dates for important things such as your website domain name.
- Anne Stafford is programme manager at iT4Communities. Send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org