As a tax preparer, your files and client information are both very important. Lots of things could happen in the world of technology – hard drives could crash, you could download a virus, your system could be breached, etc. There needs to be a safeguard in place so that you have a way to restore your data in the event of any of these scenarios.
Here are some things to consider when developing a plan to back up your data.
How will you back it up?
There are a few different ways to go about backing up data. The most convenient solution would be to opt for a cloud-based or online option. If you choose an online solution, make sure that you are backing up to a secure online system that meets the IRS file encryption and security standards. You could also go with a backup software solution (there are many options out there these days). Another solution to consider is maintaining an off-site backup. This can be done by physically removing the backup media from your site.
What will you backup?
Another thing to consider is how much data you want to back-up. Backing up your tax files should be first on your list, followed by your employee records, financials and anything else you deem necessary. You should also determine whether to backup software files and operating systems (which means using a lot more space). If you are running on a server, then you need to consider backing up the entire server.
Come up with a procedure
Once you’ve chosen a backup solution that will fit your needs and decided what you want to back up, you will need to decide how often you will back these up and then write down a procedure for backing up files to include in your operations manual.
For tax files, it is crucial that you back them up at least daily (for network operations and for stand alone computers). In some instances, these procedures are contained within your tax software.
If you’ve ever suffered from data loss, you know how important it is to backup your data! Tell us how you backup your data by leaving a comment.