Backup before you Crackup

The Optical Journal - Optical News With Independent Views

Ever have a patient run into your practice in a panic because they lost their only pair of eyeglasses and need someone now? The first statement out of your mouth is “Sure, I would be happy to sell you a new pair of eyeglasses.” The second is “You should always have a backup pair of eyeglasses, so let’s look at multiple frames.” We are always trying to get our customers or patients to buy that second pair. If you want to speak with someone who is masterful at that, my partner, Robert Bell can help you.

What about you though? Yes, I know, you probably have a dozen pair of eyeglasses. You are after all in the optical business. I was thinking about your computer files. I am amazed at how many people operate their practice with a computer system you purchased a half dozen years ago on sale and expect it to keep up with all the demands you place upon it.

I had this discussion more than once with an associate who couldn’t understand why the computers he bought almost 10 year earlier were in desperate need to be replaced. His argument was that he owned cars far older than those computers that worked perfectly fine. So I made him a bet. He could purchase any car he wanted. I wasn’t going to put restrictions on the type of vehicle as he did on the purchase price of the computers.

The caveat was that he let 8 employees drive that car 10 hours a day every day of the week with no more service than gasoline and regular oil changes and tell me what condition that car would be in one year later compared to the computers that faced the same use. He of course declined my invitation. He did however purchase new computers not long afterwards.

As we become ever more digitized in this world, digitizing our medical records, our sales records, our payroll, our inventory, our advertising, and so on, we are becoming ever more reliant on our computers. How do you feel when you lose you cell phone or when your computer doesn’t turn on? Lost, I’m sure. How would you feel if any of all of your electronic records disappeared overnight? Devastated!

So, first things first.

Make sure ever computer has a good anti-virus program loaded on it.

Next make sure every computer has an anti-spyware program on it. No excuses. Yes, even Macs can get viruses.

Next run a regular backup of your critical files. My computer, like those of many of my clients main computers are setup as a RAID (redundant array of independent disks). My main computer has two SSD drives for Window running in a RAID. If one dies, the information is on the second. All I need do is plug in a new drive and the system will copy my Windows files to the new drive automatically. I also have a RAID setup for my data files. I then have an external hard drive backing up my data files every night and the last piece of the backup puzzle is my computer backs up those same data files to an online backup system all day long. Digitally, I have condoms on top of other condoms. However, in this case, the chances of me losing everything are infinitesimally small.

You ask how much this all costs? It’s all actually pretty affordable. The cost of the two extra disks for my RAID were about $140 each. The cost of the external backup system was about $150. The cost of backing up my data files to a cloud storage system runs me around $100 a year.  All in all, having redundant systems and a good backup plan is not all that expensive. Ask yourself what the cost would be to try and recover all that lost data if your computer suddenly died tomorrow…


Daniel Feldman, is a co-founder to the Visionaries Group (on Facebook) and CEO of dba Communications, (on Facebook) a web design and social media firm specializing in helping eye care practices achieve success.