- How often should I backup my data?
- What’s the difference between a domain name, a website address (URL) and an email address?
- Why should I register my own domain?
- What’s email forwarding about?
- WordPress editing questions
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- If you’re prepared (and able) to go back and re-enter a day’s worth of data, back up once a day.
- If you’re prepared (and can afford) to go back and re-enter a week’s worth of data, back up once a week.
- If you have data that is business critical that cannot be reentered, you will need a continuous backup system.
- Your backup should be on a separate medium (such as an external hard drive, USB stick or other device) to your primary data location.
- If you have multiple backup devices you can rotate them to reduce the risk further, and store at least one off site.
- If you choose to use the Cloud to backup data, make sure you also keep a copy locally.
- Save your files, save often. Repeat.
How else can I protect my data?
- Shut down your computer properly at the end of each day – don’t just turn it off if there are files or applications still open – especially for Windows users – as this leads to corrupt (and possibly unrecoverable) files.
- When you buy a new computer, make sure you obtain installation media for the operating system and original software (or can readily download it) and create a recovery disk, so that you can reinstall the operating system or software if something goes wrong.
- You must install professional grade antivirus/anti-malware software if you value your data. We do not recommend free antivirus programs as they are generally not updated frequently enough to be useful, tend to be poorly supported and can interfere with other applications. Ask us for advice if in doubt.
- If you share data with clients or suppliers, you may be liable for damaging their systems if you do not take basic precautions to protect your systems and external media from viruses and malware.
- Keep business computers for business. Buy a separate computer for personal use or for the kids to play on.
Software is so expensive – do I have to pay license fees?
There are some good quality free / low cost operating systems and applications around if you can’t afford or don’t want to pay a lot for software. Here at Nullarbor we have been using Linux or Windows in combination with LibreOffice, Thunderbird+Lightning, Evolution, The Gimp and Firefox for some years. We can still import and export most MSOffice format files, PDFs, images etc without any problems and we handle a LOT of file formats from different clients! However, take care with “free software” unless you have researched it thoroughly – it could be a source of malware and you should only download it from reputable sites after checking reviews and checking for viruses. If your business needs to use specialist software that only runs on a particular commercial operating system, or if you need to create or share files that can only be opened in certain commercial applications, you will need to purchase licences for those.
- Our domain name is nullarbor.com.au
- Our website address is www.nullarbor.com.au
- Our email address is email@example.com
Domain names are used to direct traffic on the Internet. Computers recognise numbers like 18.104.22.168 but people remember names better – so nullarbor.com.au is a people-friendly name for the server address (eg 22.214.171.124) where data (email, website etc) is held. A domain name is made up of 2 or 3 components:
- name of the entity (company, organisation, product etc – eg nullarbor, redcross, cocacola)
- type of entity (.com or .co for company, .org for organisation, .gov for government agency, .net for a network, .tv for television channel etc)
- country of registration (.au for australia, .uk for United Kingdom, or blank if it is a global entity or in the USA – eg redcross.org, cocacola.com)
A Website address (also called a Uniform Resource Locator, or URL) is the people-friendly address of a computer server where website files (text, images, videos etc) are stored. The prefix www denotes that the address is part of the World Wide Web (as opposed to an email address, or other kind of online service).
An Email address is used to tell computers which server mailbox on the Internet to deliver your email messages to, just as your postal address tells the postal service where to deliver your letters. An email address is usually made up of a name or position followed by the @ symbol, then the domain name (eg firstname.lastname@example.org). The @ part tells your computer that it is an email address (as opposed to a website address). You can have multiple email accounts @ your domain. For example, our business might have email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com and so on.
Keeping email addresses up to date can be a pain. If your email address is linked to a provider (eg firstname.lastname@example.org) and you change service providers, you have to let everyone know your new address, change your letterhead, business cards etc and you may miss out on business. The same applies if your website is a subdomain of a provider’s website – eg www.mycompany.mytelco.com.au. It looks more professional if your domain consists of your business/product name and it will be easier for people to find your website.
The way to do this is to register your own domain. You control what happens to it and where it is hosted. If you decide to change service providers, your name goes with you to the new provider. You are in control.
If you sell the business, your domain name is also a valuable asset and you should make sure that its transfer to the new owner is included in sale negotiations if they are retaining the same business/product name. Likewise if you are buying a business, make sure control of the domain name, email and website details are also transferred to you and that the ISP is advised in writing of the change of ownership.
What’s email “forwarding” about?
You can forward email belonging to a certain address to one or more “hidden” individual addresses.
For example, you publish the email address email@example.com on your letterhead, company website, business cards etc. Email to firstname.lastname@example.org could be forwarded to email@example.com, but if Mary goes away on holidays or leaves the company, then email to firstname.lastname@example.org can be forwarded to email@example.com without having to reprint letterhead, cards or change the website.
If you encourage your customers to always use a generic address like firstname.lastname@example.org, they won’t need to change their address books either and you won’t miss out on business.