Today I want to show you how to backup ministry computers, and why you should. I think you’ve heard that I’m very big on backing up computers in case of a tragedy. But why should you do it?

how to backup ministry computers

Why You Should have a Backup Plan

Hard drives die. Spinning disks die after 3-5yrs, and Solid State Drives last a long time. But Solid State drives will die too, eventually.

Accidents Happen. One of my co-workers accidentally deleted all of their photos from their phone. They did not have a backup. So, they lost the photos. Simple solution is backing things up. FYI you can have them automatically backup to dropbox.

How to Backup Ministry Computers

You want to have a plan in place to recover important data (files) as quickly as possible. If I’ve learned one thing, its that people are quite frustrated when computer disaster strikes. So what sort of backup do you need?

Types of Backups

When teaching someone how to backup ministry computers, I recommend a couple of different backups. First, I’d want an on-site backup of mission-critical computers. What do I mean? Well, our Admin Assistant who does finances – they need an onsite backup because that information is critical. An on-site backup can be a backup on your network server, or an external hard drive. These are great because if you do lose a hard drive due to drive failure, you can transfer the critical data back to the new hard disk very quickly – more quickly than from an off-site backup.

The second backup you need is an off-site backup. Choose a backup service. Many good ones exist, and a quick google search will show you that the top three are usually Crashplan, Backblaze, and Carbonite. (I use Carbonite at home, so if you click that link it goes through my referral code). Honestly, any of those three will probably do the job. I chose Carbonite a long time ago (like 2009). Basically, you install the software and go through the setup process. Then, your computer will start uploading files to the internet backup provider.

A third type of backup isn’t really the same as a true off-site backup, but can also be helpful. I mean a service like Dropbox (again, the link is my referral link). These types of backups do have a cloud-component (you can access files from an internet browser), but they are really more suited to synchronizing one or two large folders across multiple machines. So, technically the files are backed up on another machine, but you may not have every single iteration of that word document backed up – just the latest one.

How Does My Backup of Ministry Computers Look?

I tell all of our people with computers to save all of their documents in dropbox, and not anywhere else on their computers. That way if their laptop is stolen or broken, we can still get their files back. Most of our people will only need this level of backup – they don’t have tons of files. However, our media computers are backed up with a backup service, and so is our financial assistant’s computer. The media computers have so much data from large video files that we needed a true backup service. The financial admin could likely get away with dropbox, but with a true backup provider we can have access to every single iteration of her files. So, if they save the file, then come in the next day and work until lunch, then realize they made mistakes – they just roll the file back to the version from the previous day.

Conclusion

Having a plan in place is vital to navigating computer crashes and user errors. With a little planning upfront, now that you understand how to backup ministry computers, you can minimize the time lost and data lost in the event of (your next?) crash. Trust me things will break. We have had two laptops go down in the past 3 months. Please leave questions or comments about your experiences with crashes or backups!

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