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    The huge mistake that could cripple your dental practice

    Backing up your data is easy to do — but not doing it could mean the end of your practice.

    When you live in a digital world, you become dependent on your technology. Think about it. Probably 10 or maybe 15 years ago having a mobile phone was a luxury or perhaps a hassle, but either way it wasn’t that important.

    Nowadays you get a mile or so away from home and realize you left your phone on the kitchen table and you will turn around to go back and get it. That’s not a bad thing. At one time the “horseless carriage” was considered new technology and now we can’t get along without it.

    Of course the thing that is difficult about technology is suddenly not having it. Just like turning around to go get your phone, we’ve all become so dependent on technology that when we don’t have access to it, things tend to grind to a halt.

    Trust me on this one, if you are truly dependent on technology, you’ll do anything you can to avoid being without it. That’s why this month’s Technology Evangelist column will focus on backing up your data and making sure it is safe… just in case of a disaster.

    What I want to give you in this article is a basic understanding as well as a menu for how to ensure your data can be retrieved in case things go sideways… and life can always go sideways.

    Now before we get started, let me confess that I’m a bit of an outlier. My motto has always been if having two of something is good, then having six of something is three times as good. So with that in mind, remember that I’m the king of overkill. Your mileage may vary. However, I will tell you this. In backup strategies, redundancy is important. It is critical to have at least one more backup than you think that you will need! Of course the part that makes this interesting is how do you know how many you truly will need? That’s the reason I tend to lean toward more instead of less. I refer to the backup process as being “the backup chain and the more links it has, the better it is.

    More from Dr. Flucke: The importance of security in dentistry

    Why should I back up?

    The following statistics were gathered from Boston Computing Network and while some of the information is old, you can still see the disasters that can be created when a crash happens. I have no reason to believe these statistics have gotten any better over time.

    •  Six percent of all PCs will suffer an episode of data loss in any given year. Given the number of PCs used in US businesses in 1998, that translates to approximately 4.6 million data loss episodes. At a conservative estimate, data loss cost US businesses $11.8 billion in 1998. 
    •  30 percent of all businesses that have a major fire go out of business within a year. 70 percent fail within five years. 
    •  31 percent of PC users have lost all of their files due to events beyond their control.
    • 34 percent of companies fail to test their tape backups, and of those that do, 77 percent have found tape backup failures.
    • 60 percent of companies that lose their data will shut down within six months of the disaster.
    •  93 percent of companies that lost their data center for 10 days or more due to a disaster filed for bankruptcy within one year of the disaster. 50 percent of businesses that found themselves without data management for this same time period filed for bankruptcy immediately. 
    • American business lost more than $7.6 billion as a result of viruses during first six months of 1999. 
    • Companies that aren't able to resume operations within ten days (of a disaster hit) are not likely to survive. 
    • Every week 140,000 hard drives crash in the United States. 
    • Simple drive recovery can cost upwards of $7,500 and success is not guaranteed.

    More from Dr. Flucke: The top 10 tech trends that will define 2017 

    Next: What do you need to back up?


    Dr. John Flucke
    Dr. John Flucke is in private practice in Lee’s Summit, Mo. He also serves as technology editor for Dental Products Report magazine and ...


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