How to back up your files

In our digital age, hard copies are generally a thing of the past unless you're paranoid. However, a little paranoia is a good thing and it is of the utmost importance that a small business backs up its files.

Practically every business has gone digital in some way, from emails to accounting and payroll programmes. Keeping copies of your documents is important for tax reasons as well as for recording purposes, and just ask anyone who's lost all their emails, contacts, and digital invoices what a pain it is for the business going forward.

There are several options you have for backing up your files.

Back-up storage devices

Purchase a backup storage device that is large enough for all your current and future documents - at least twice the size of your hard drive. External hard drives are the easiest option. When you plug the device into your computer, set it as your backup device. With a Windows computer, you can set everything up so that it automatically backs up your files when you plug that hard drive in.

A server

Set up a server in your office onto which all your employees must save copies of their documents. Since the server is an additional computer, it will also be important to make a backup of its contents, so though this option is convenient for all involved, it does involve an additional cost.

Save your documents to the cloud

This is the latest method of backing up files, and is especially convenient since you can usually use the product across several devices and wherever you have an internet connection. If you choose this option, you will need to find a good online storage product such as Microsoft's OneDrive. Biz4Afrika members are entitled? to a limited free version or reduced paid versions, so register here!

OneDrive is accessible through the Windows 8 OS. The online storage is free, and you can manually add the files you'd like to back up. You can choose whether you want the files to be available offline, which means that if you have no access to the Internet, you will still be able to see your files. Bear in mind that this means your local hard drive will need this space.

OneDrive will synchronise your selected folders with those on your online storage, while you will also have the option to save directly to OneDrive from Microsoft's other programmes, such as Word.

You may be concerned about how secure your personal documents are in the cloud, but Microsoft uses an advanced security framework that protects your files, while multiple copies of your documents are saved on servers and drives so your file will never be lost.

For extra security, make sure you have a strong password, use two-step verification, and add security information to your Microsoft account.


Biz4Afrika is a Microsoft small business community hub. Biz4Afrika is making it possible to get online for free, spread your customer net wider and bring in more sales. Small businesses can register, get their own personalised website, their own internet address, personalised email address, as well as offers from over 30 partners to help your business grow.

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About Roane Swindon

Having been in the media industry for nine years, I have plenty of experience in every aspect of media, including writing, editing, proofreading, social media, and syndication. I also enjoy a challenge and love to widen my knowledge at every turn.

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