A friend of mine recently had her hard drive crash with QuickBooks on it. She thought she had a good backup on an external hard drive, and additionally, a good cloud backup.

Turns out she had neither. All the copies and backups of her file were copies of corrupted data.

Fortunately, an outside bookkeeper had put a QuickBooks backup on a USB stick three weeks earlier. So “only” three weeks of data had to be re-input, instead of lots, lots more.

What went wrong? In a nutshell: One-generation backups. That means there was only one copy of backups to restore from.

In her case, both the external hard drive and the cloud backup were being updated from files on her hard drive. That’s fine as far as it goes.

But when the hard drive went down and was recovered, a damaged QuickBooks company file was then backed up to all the backup systems. And so any previously backed up “good” data was overwritten by “bad” data.

There existed only one generation of QuickBooks data. That’s bad.

It’s true that there were IT protocol errors made in the attempted recovery, but the vulnerability was always there: If you have only one generation of backups, you can get burned.

The best way way to backup your QuickBooks data with current technology is to backup to a cloud-based system. And that system must both automatically backup your QuickBooks data in real-time and keep many generations (meaning days) of backups available.

For example, with Carbonite, you can set it up to maintain a rolling 90 day window of backups. It will make a backup every day for 90 days before the oldest file “falls off”. If you need to restore a backup, you can go back as far as 90 days to look for an uncorrupted file. That’s pretty great.

Have you been burned by one-generational backup systems? Or saved by multi-generational backups? Tell your story.

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