The obvious can be hard to see at times.

Had a call yesterday from a very good friend of mine who runs a successful business and prides himself on getting the very best service and certainly doesn’t mind paying the extra few quid for a service or product that’ll make his business and personal life easier to manage.

He was in a spot of bother though and needed my help….

He won’t mind me saying that he’s not the most skilled when it comes to all things IT; about as advanced as I am in the kitchen. Yes it’s pretty bad!

One thing he bought a few years ago was an external backup drive to keep his work files and treasured photos of his loved ones safe.

But this was no ordinary backup drive….

It’s configured as a RAID which consists of two hard drives and keeps multiple copies of all the data; so if one drive fails, you can still access the data from the other. Fantastic piece of kit? Yes and no…

What happened to his box and the way he was working forced him to a complete standstill.

Instead of one of the drives failing, the power supply unit failed which meant he couldn’t access either of the drives! Once I get the parts through tomorrow I’ll get him up and running fairly swiftly, but in the meantime he’s stuck.

Reason for this is because he didn’t treat it as a backup drive; he copied everything on there as his main place of storage.

So what lesson can we learn from this?

My moto is that there’s no such thing as having too many backups but having a bad backup system could be a recipe for disaster.

For starters there’s no matter how many physical backups you have on site because there are two events that can scupper them all…

God forbid if this does happen, but a fire could destroy all your drives in an instant.

The other is the unwelcomed visitor; a break-in is something none of us want to experience but we have to bear in mind that gadgets are very high up on a thieves shopping list.

So instead of worrying about the what-ifs, here’s my action plan to safe-guard all your work, music and treasured photos.

STEP 1 – Save all your stuff on a computer and work directly from that.

STEP 2 – Sign up with a secure online backup service. This means that you’ll have a backup of all your data in the cloud, fully encrypted and accessible from anywhere, anytime.

Is this expensive Hefin?

Well it depends on how much you value your business or personal data? For around £40 a year, that’ll give you enough online storage to last you a lifetime.

STEP 3 – Every one, three or six months (or whatever you feel comfortable with) take a backup of all your data to a local backup drive and store it in a safe place.

Some of you will say ‘Oh yes – must do this; I’ll get round to it one day…’

Procrastinating, believing (hoping) that it will never happen is not an advisable route to take. I for one would be devastated if I lost the photos of my loved ones and wouldn’t be good news for my business either!

My friend has already taken my advice on board and signed up with a secure cloud backup service and has promised to put my three step plan into action; so if his computer or backup drive does fail again in the future, there won’t be any downtime for him.

So what’s your plan of action?

Remember – It’s easy to do and it’s also easy not to do.