Learning to Back Up Your Daycare Database
When you’re learning to drive, you take precautions backing up. You glance in the mirror, crane your neck for a better view, and gently ease your foot on the pedal. You’re careful not to bump the orange cone to ensure you’ll pass the driving test.
At first it takes practice, but soon those steps become second nature as you develop good driving habits.
Taking precautions with the database on the computer at your child care center is an important habit too. You’ve spent untold hours keeping child and family records up to date with payments, attendance, meal counts and more.
If the unthinkable were to happen: your hard drive crashes, your laptop is dropped or stolen, your computer gets a nasty virus, is fried by lightning or simply rusts in place — what would you do? Okay, that last one is pretty unlikely, but you get the point.
If you follow the recommendations in this article, you’ll have a quick, easy, confident answer.
Your Backup File
The answer, as you may have guessed, is called a backup, and follows the saying that “the best things in life are free”. The backup itself is the only part that MUST be done ahead of time. You can always buy another computer or reinstall your Child Care Management Software, but you cannot buy your way out of not having your data backed up.
So How do I Back Up My Data?
If you’re using Procare Software, the Database Backup takes just four clicks without any typing. Since the information on your backup is only as current as the most recent time you made the backup, you’ll want to back up each day. You can even Schedule Backups to run on their own. So far, so good, but the backup files are still stored on the hard drive of your main computer. If that computer is damaged you’ll find yourself in danger, similar to backing up your car without looking.
Make a Copy of Your Backup
You’ll want to copy your backup to a USB flash drive (they’re inexpensive and can be used over and over), or another device of your choice. At that point you have it available in the event your main computer has issues. It’s even better to take the data off site; in other words, take the USB drive home with you. Then if something more serious happens at your child care location, like a fire or flood, you’ll know the data is safe. If you’re making individual backups in Procare, you’ll be prompted to copy the backup to another location. If you’re using Scheduled Backups, you can set it to Automatically Copy the Backup somewhere else.
Data Hosting: No Backups Required
Another option is use a service to host your daycare data for you, such as Procare Data Hosting. With Data Hosting all your information is stored on a secure, remote computer (not the computer in your office) and you simply access the data using a high speed internet connection. All backup files are managed for you, so you’ll never have to worry about whether you remembered to make a backup or trying to find your USB drive.
Here’s hoping your good habits about backing up apply both to driving and your computer, and until next time, cheers!
P.S. Special thanks to Procare Technician Steve Suarez for his contributions to this article.
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