How would your business be affected if there was a fire or flood that completely wiped out your computer system? How long would it take you to recover? Data backup and specifically, remote or online data backup is ABSOLUTELY something that the smart business owner (small or large) should consider and implement.All of the important information on your computer like financial documents, email, digital photos, music and more; for businesses: customer files, accounting programs and files, contact & direct mail lists, sales tracking, photos, product information, etc. that would be missed or (more likely) devastating if not accessible should be backed up or saved somewhere other than your hard drive or even local backup systems such as CD, DVED, flash or tape drives or USB. Offsite or remote data back up is imperative to consider if you value your computer’s information.Your data can be lost in a variety of ways and for different reasons. Power spikes are capable of leading to data loss, especially for computer systems without surge protectors or voltage regulators. Unfortunately, computers are vulnerable to hard drive crashes, virus attacks, theft and natural disasters, which can erase everything in an instant. All of us are possible victims of accidental file deletions or disk reformatting. Not to mention physical hazards like flood, fire or other natural (or unnatural) disaster. Virus or malware attacks can lead to lost files and information for unlucky computer users. Human error or sabotage can seriously damage or destroy files and even backups.A recent article on AOL News cites a Florida woman, afraid of losing her job, deleting $2.5 million worth of company files from the architectural firm where she worked. “She obviously wasn’t quite right in the head when doing this, but we’re inclined to think that the owner of the business isn’t all there either. Despite estimating the worth of the company’s files at $2.5 million, the architecture firm had no backup systems in place. That’s a recipe for disaster regardless of the sanity of your employees. Even the local Sheriff’s office knows better than that, issuing the following statement: The lesson to be learned here is that you can’t depend on having just one set of records or files and having your employees have access to them. You’ve got to have some kind of backup. Thankfully the files were able to be recovered, but backups of important files are not something you should take lightly.”Statistics show that one out of ten hard drives fail each year. Another widely published statistic from the U.S. National Archives & Records Administration in Washington states that 50% of businesses that lose their critical data for 10 days or more file for bankruptcy.Backing up your data is essential and easy to implement, regardless of what kind of computing you do. These days, most people backup their important information on CDs, DVDs, external hard drivers, and flash drives so they can quickly retrieve the second copy if ever needed. However, what they fail to realize is these second copies are just as vulnerable and susceptible to damage as the first copy, especially if they are stored in near vicinity of each other. Using a backup method such as CD-ROM or external hard drive defeats the purpose if it is not kept in a completely remote, different area. Fire, theft, flood, and natural disasters are still viable threats.Online data storage is a very good alternative. There are other benefits to automated remote data back up services. Automatic backups save at least 10 minutes a day over manual backups. You or your employee spending that time running backups at $20 an hour, translates into about $67 a month in savings. Manual backup media, as discussed, is notoriously failure-prone and vulnerable to environmental damage (heat, sunlight, humidity, liquids, dust) and human mishandling (scratched, bent and dropped, lost or stolen). Security of your critical data when backed up with an online and off-site data backup service can be verified as far superior to manual backup media. It even protects you from theft. If your laptop is stolen,(which happens frequently) you’ll still have all the data.