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A New Year detox is top of the “To Do” list for many of us in the first week of January – but there’s no need to limit the big clean-up to your body.

I spend much of my life giving advice about backing up, repairing and renewing IT systems. I can get especially evangelical about it at this time of year, when quieter work flows for many organisations make it easier to contemplate bad habits and think about the essential steps to a healthier IT set-up. So the first of my New Year resolutions is to protect your data properly.

It’s ironic that a typical company will have locking doors, alarms and insurance policies to secure their physical property, but very little in place to guard against the loss of the information that allows the company to operate.

Put another way, if your office building burnt down, it would cause serious disruption, but the permanent loss of data could be catastrophic. A business simply can’t operate without the matrix of information that underpins operations such as invoicing, sales, stock, HR, and contracts with customers and suppliers.

And don’t just consider the back-up – think about how quickly and easily you can get your systems operational again. Just because you have the data backed up doesn’t mean you’ll be operational again in hours – it could be days. Ask your IT provider for an estimate on the recovery time and decide if further processes or systems are needed to protect your business.

The second resolution is to minimise downtime risk. You can achieve this by maintaining and monitoring your IT systems properly. Yes, it does require resource, but the investment pays off in terms of efficiency.

And, finally, for those with old creaking servers, don’t think that simply replacing them with a new one is the solution. Take a look at the various cloud-based solutions. It could mean you can upgrade sooner than you think and have a more flexible system.