The scariest day of my career and running my business happened this year. It was mid-March and the middle of tax season. My server crashed. But it didn’t just crash. It totally died. A computer, not even 6 months old, with multiple hard drives that mirror each other. Every file, every folder, every everything (yes I meant to say that) was copied to both hard drives. And the whole thing just DIED!!!!
Yes, I had backups but yet, I was still freaking out. What if my backups didn’t run? What if they weren’t up to the last minute of what I was doing? Needless to say I was quietly panicking! I was freaking out! Scared shitless! This is my business after all. This is my life. This is what feeds my family. This was my busiest time of year. Tax season doesn’t stop for anyone or anything! (except CRA errors as we’ve now seen two years in a row ;))
But despite all the freaking out and panicking, I moved. I got to work and got it fixed. I called my IT professional. They came, they evaluated. Then I went shopping. I went to a local computer store and bought a computer. It wasn’t what I normally buy. It wasn’t top of the line. It wasn’t a business model. It was what I could buy right that minute that would allow me to get working again and immediately.
And when we don’t have it, needless to say I was lost. Completely lost for over 24 hours. Not knowing whether my backups were going to work. Not knowing whether I lost anything.
Really, I just didn’t trust the process. I had backups in place. Hourly, daily, weekly…they were all set. I knew that they ran as the emails told me they ran. And on very few occasions, I had to restore a file from a previous backup. But it was really not that often and only one file at a time. It wasn’t ALL my files.
For 24 hours, I had no clue about my business. Had no clue when I would be back up and running. I had no trust in the process. And why? Because I had never fully tested the backups. And maybe that is just silly. Maybe random testing with files is all that was needed. But either way, I am not a tech expert so I was blindly trusting a process that I did not personally test to what I thought I should have. And of course, we are just good at doubting things when we don’t have concrete answers. We can’t physically touch data. And how many times have you heard someone that lost all info on their phones? This just adds more doubt.
So what did I learn? Not only is it important to have backups which I did, it is equally important to test them regularly. And of course backups are for smart phones too.