This may help insure against viruses, hackers, hardware failures or damage to hosting servers.

It is common practice to insure an organisation against things like fire, theft and natural disasters.

In a similar way, backing up your organisation’s data and your website may help you recover what you’ve lost in the event of viruses, hackers, hardware failures or damage to hosting servers.

A good backup system typically includes:

  • Daily incremental backups to a portable hard drive, CD, DVD or cloud storage service.
  • End-of-week server backups—in-house and offsite.
  • Quarterly server backups—offsite.
  • Yearly server backups—offsite.
Your organisation

Backingup your organisation’s data

Most organisations move large amounts of important digital information on their computers, laptops, mobile phones, tablets and servers. This is called ‘locally-stored data’.

No matter how big or small your organisation is, you may be at risk of losing this data if you don’t back it up on a regular basis. Fortunately, backing up your locally-stored data is generally cost-effective and easy.

One way of backing up important files is to copy them to a different medium – CD, USB hard drive, cloud storage service. Each medium has certain advantages.

  • USB hard drive. Generally, these are easy to set up and have large amounts of space. They are also portable, which may mean they are easy to secure in a safe or lockable cabinet. They can vary in price from quite cheap to expensive, depending on the features you need and how much storage space you require.

  • Local server. These are centralised, networked storage devices that can be securely accessed by authorised computers on the same network. While they can be expensive, they generally provide large amounts of storage that may be quickly and easily used as a backup destination.

  • CD-RW or DVD-RW. Most computers are able to copy data to blank CDs and DVDs. Blank CD-RWs and DVD-RWs are generally cheap, and can be purchased from most supermarkets or office suppliers. CD-RWs typically hold around 700 megabytes of data and DVD-RWs can hold up to 15.9 gigabytes of data.

It is a good idea to use multiple back up methods to help ensure the safekeeping of your important files.

You can find a guide to backing up your organisation’s data on the Australian Government’s Stay Smart Online website.


Automating the back up of your locally-stored data

Backing up your files can be automated. In other words, you can get special software that automatically copies your files to your chosen medium on a regular basis.

Some free options include:

external linkApple Time Machine. This software comes included with Apple computers and laptops OSX version 10.5 or later. It allows you to automate backups to any storage device connected to your computer – via USB or Wi-Fi.

external linkCrash Plan. This software is free if you choose to back up to a USB hard drive. A remote back up option is available for a monthly fee. It can be used on Mac, Windows and Linux computers.

external linkWindows 7 Backup and Restore. This utility is included with every version of Windows 7. Much like the other tools mentioned, it automatically backs up your files to a hard drive or DVD-RW.

‘Which back up method is best for my business?’

Which back up method you choose for your business generally depends on:


  • The amount of data you need to back up.
  • How secure you need the data to be.

If you have large amounts of data to back up – like images or videos – you may choose to use a USB hard drive or local server. This is because uploading large files to a cloud storage service can be slow and use up lots of your internet bandwidth.

If you are storing sensitive or personal information, you will need to ensure that it is safe from theft and loss. Considering USB drives, local servers and DVDs can be stolen or lost, a secure cloud storage service might be a better option.

Your website

Backing up your website

If you are using a popular content management system (CMS), the CMS software provider should provide instructions for backing up your data on their own websites.

If you are creating your website with the help of a web developer or website creation company, it may be worth talking to them about how to create your own backup system.

It may also be worth finding out if your web hosting service provides a backup service. This may cost money, but it could be a worthwhile investment if the loss of data would be a particularly large blow to your organisation.