Data Death: The Importance of a Regular Church Data Backup

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Wednesday, May 16, 2018

It’s not pretty to think about. To many of us, our church building represents many histories: A history of legacy, a history of fellowship, a history of outreach, and a history of serving. But fires burn buildings. Tornados and hurricanes demolish them. People break into them and steal or damage computers. Mechanical systems fail.

One of the most difficult support calls that we get here at Church Windows Software is the call from someone who has lost their data due to a disaster at the church, a hard drive crash, or a stolen or damaged computer.

Our first question is always, “When did you make your last backup?” It amazes and saddens us when the answer is something like, “We don’t have one.” Or maybe, the answer is “Last year.” We also get responses like, “Our systems person or office manager does that”, “I don’t have to worry about it,” or the worst: “Do we need to do that?”

Please, please, please – protect yourself!  Not just with church management software data, but with church documents and church photos as well. If data is destroyed or damaged and you do not have a recent backup, it is possibly gone. If not, there is likely an expensive and not-always-successful experience with a data recovery company to try to get back what a 30-second backup could have prevented. You will have to re-enter all of the lost data – and that might include multiple years of data. And who knows how many years of precious church memories – your church history (!) – may be in lost photos.

We suggest a regular backup regimen involving three rotating sources. (Backups can fail, too!) Always keep one backup copy off-site. (Refer to paragraph one above for reasoning.) One easy way to keep a backup off-site is via a cloud-drive account such as Google Drive or iCloud. The cost is nominal and the benefit is great. It’s also simple to just email a data backup copy to yourself at your Yahoo or Google email account and keep them in a separate folder.

There is a saying: “Backups are for pessimists.” When it comes to the church’s computer data, everyone should be a pessimist!  It’s not pretty, but it can create a positive outcome to an otherwise tragic situation.

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