Technology has given us many tools to offload various facets of managing our business.  We have service providers that manage our mailing lists.  We have friends, followers and connections on social media sites.  We store data in the cloud.  We host our websites on other entities’ servers.  And we are very dependent upon these technologies and companies to work as they should.

The problem is that you may have a large portion of your valuable business assets- from data to customer relationships- in someone else’s hands.  And you probably take it for granted.

One of my clients did when they spent three years building up a following of 50,000+ on an early social networking site.  It was fantastically valuable.  But when their account got hacked, they lost access to those customers (and three years of hard work) with no way to restore them other than starting from scratch again.

It may sound far-fetched, but technology isn’t perfect and companies go out of business.  Here’s a checklist of risk prevention for your business in the digital age:

-Back up/download your email list at least every month (or every two weeks if you get frequent additions).  This way, if you lose data, you will only have it lost from the last back up.

-Back up your blog or website.  Dashal has a great blog post on how to do manual backups.  Do this every 2-4 weeks as well.

-Have a printed (non-digital) list of all of your key account passwords, stored in a safe place.  If possible, code it in a way that only you can understand.

-Download copies of your key documents that you have stored in the cloud or applications like dropbox and Google every 2-4 weeks, depending on the frequency of your updates.

-Keep a catalogue of all written articles that you may want to reference for press.  Some sites take down old links and you may find that they have gone missing.

-Keep and update a monthly log of your friends/followers (or at least your most active ones).  There are software tools to manage your social media relationships or you can do it manually.  This may sound daunting, but if your accounts were to get hacked, etc., how would that affect your business?

-Download information from your PayPal, or other online payment or affiliate accounts every two to four weeks (depending on the activity level you have in those accounts).

You spend way too much precious time building your business.  Don’t let one unfortunate data issue set you back.  Take the time to make sure your information valuables and customer relationships are safeguarded

Are there any other best practices that you would suggest?  Share them below.