Last week I was at the dentist office for my semi-annual checkup. Every 6 months I sit with my mouth stretched open and stare at a poster on his wall, “You Don’t Have to Floss All Your Teeth, Only the Ones You Want to Keep.” Cute.
Flash back 20 something years earlier (I sat in the same chair looking at the same poster even then), I started a property management company. We managed over 250 residential rental units. In the beginning, everything was done by hand – dozens of green ledger sheets for rent-rolls, hand writing over 150 checks per month, manually balancing over a dozen checkbooks. Yikes! Then I had my first experience with computers. We put everything on an old pre-DOS PC. Wow, was it great! No more ledger sheets. Checks were printed on the old dot-matrix printer with the push of a button! The checkbooks balanced themselves! I was saving a ton of time every day! I abandoned all that manual paperwork. Life was good.
The hard drive crashed. Back then, who knew? I still remember that feeling. You know that sinking feeling. It starts in your gut and roils up through your chest then drains the blood from your face. And about the time it hits your brain, your knees start to buckle.
Now, picture this. A young guy, on the phone, calling tenant after tenant after tenant, 250 of them, asking “Did you pay your rent this month? Uh, how about last month, do you owe anything from last month?” To this day I don’t know exactly how much money I lost. It was many, many thousands. And countless hours. But I was lucky. I was able to stay in business.
Back then, who knew to back up their data? Today, it’s different. Today we know that 93% of businesses that experience a total data loss, like I did, go out of business within a year. Ninety Three Percent. I was lucky enough to be one of the 7% that survived.
20 something years ago I became an expert on disaster recovery and business continuity. Warren Buffet said, “What the wise do in the beginning, fools do in the end.” If you can’t learn from the mistakes of others, you do so at your own peril – and the peril of everyone who counts on you.
“You Don’t Have to Backup All Your Data, Only the Data You Want to Keep.”