Wed 1 May 2013
(Photo by Jenny Starley)
It’s late Friday afternoon. A friend calls you to let you know your website is down. You scramble to check, and realize they’re right. You call your webmaster, only to find out they’re on vacation (and checking their emails sporadically). What do you do now?
If you’ve thought ahead, you might call another webmaster to pinch in. They’ll likely need access to your various usernames and passwords to investigate. If you don’t have this information at-hand, then you’re truly stuck.
Therefore, I suggest that as a minimum you maintain the following to help you WHEN you have a problem (not IF):
- List of user names and passwords for your business (web hosting, email, CMS accounts, PayPal, DropBox, FTP, banking, telephone, contact manager, internet provider, etc.). Print out a copy and put it a safety deposit box (in case of fire). Give an electronic copy to a trusted friend (if worried about privacy, perhaps encrypt the file – but make absolutely sure you remember the password).
- Backups of your databases (email, website, CRM). Ideally keep copies offsite. If you’re unsure how often to backup, determine your comfort level of having to recreate your business files at different time frames (1 day, 1 week, or 1 month).
- Backups of your computer disks. Again, offsite is important.
- A contact list for your support team (webmaster, accountant, lawyer, distributor, employees, and family).
- A contact list for your “back-up” support team (if your first tier aren’t available).
In some cases, you might consider backing up your data to “the cloud” – if you’re comfortable with the speed/security trade-off. Whatever backup solution you use, occasionally test restoring from the backup. We assume that the backup will work without fail, but it’s vital to ensure that your backup works.
Emergency planning isn’t sexy or fun. But it’s vital to ensure you business viability.