The end of the year is a good time to put some time and attention into cleaning up and backing up your files. Cleaning up your files lets you clear up physical, digital and psychological space so everyone can get more done. Backing up is essential in case something goes wrong.
Here's how to do your annual file clean-up and backup.
Delete Clutter from Project Management
If you still have old projects open in your project management software, delete them or archive them now. People on your project management software should only be seeing projects that are actually relevant to their work right now.
Archive Physical Files
If you have a lot of physical files lying around that aren't being used anymore, archive them. Small businesses can open a small storage facility to store their archived files. Larger businesses can open an account with a file archive facility.
What to Back Up
At least once a year, you should back up:
§ An entire copy of your website. You should have the "front" end of your website, including the CSS and HTML code, as well as the "back" end infrastructure (e.g. server code) all backed up somewhere.
§ Your entire database should be backed up as well.
§ Your email list and newsletter list should be backed up, along with any mailing sequences.
§ Your customer list should also be backed up.
§ Your forums or any other communication channels should be fully backed up. You should be able to restore your community if anything happened.
Basically, anything that could critically cripple your business if it disappeared should be backed up regularly.
At Least Three Backup Sources
You should have at least three backups of all your most important data. Each offers a different level of protection.
§ Online backup - Online backups work well for small files and for files stored on personal computers.
§ On site backups - These can be done as frequently as once a month. Simply take all your digital data and dump them on a hard drive, then store that drive.
§ Off-site backups - On site backups can't protect your data against earthquakes, fires, floods and other disasters that could affect the physical devices your data is stored on. Off-site backups will hold your data for you, so you're protected in case of a disaster.
Just one level of protection isn't enough to protect you against a catastrophe. Higher levels of protection require more work and are generally performed less frequently.
Change Dropbox Passwords
At least once a year, ask all your employees to change their Dropbox, Google Drive and other backup passwords. Passwords now need to be more complex, and best are ones that are 16 or more characters.
If you perform these tasks regularly, you'll be well protected against disasters in all forms.