Back Up Your Files

Make sure you don't lose the files that you create, modify, and store on your computer by backing them up regularly, either manually or via the automatic back up feature available for most operating systems. Intuit has online backup for QuickBooks, but you can also use independent services to back up your data.
The Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center provides the following tips about backing up your files.


What should you back up?

All critical files, as well as any information not easily replaceable should be backed up. This could include business records and financial data, emails, address book, calendars, and any other information that has value to the individual or organization.


How do you back up data?

  • Use your computer's backup tools. Most operating systems provide backup software designed to make the process easier.
  • Back up data at regular intervals. Evaluate the importance of your data and the frequency of change in the data to determine the necessary frequency with which the data should be backed up.
  • Verify the data has been backed up. Backup media needs to be reviewed periodically to determine if all of the data has been backed up accurately. Use the "backup log" provided by most backup applications. Generate a "backup report" that can quickly identify problems or skipped files. Be sure to review these logs periodically.
  • Store the backup media in a secure location. Maintain two backups if possible: one on-site and one off-site. Backup media should be stored in a physically secure location.
  • Verify the ability to restore. Periodically test that your backup data can be restored if loss occurs.


What media can be used for backups?

  • Online backup services offer varying levels of storage and recovery options that can be tailored based on needs.
  • USB flash drives, sometimes called "thumb" drives, typically have limited storage and may not be practical for storing large amounts of data.
  • DVDs provide much greater storage capacity than CDs.
  • CDs offer more storage capacity than flash drives but can be slow in copying and retrieving files. They're useful for home users with limited amounts of data to back up.
  • External hard drives are very effective backup devices. They typically have large storage capacity, and allow for extremely rapid copying of files and recovery of stored files.
  • Tapes are commonly used in government and businesses where large amounts of data need to be backed up on a regular basis.