To avoid this type of catastrophe, it is necessary to create a data backup plan before disaster strikes. The type of system you implement will likely depend on the size of your organization, the type of information you have, etc.
A smaller nonprofit might be able to get away with simply backing all files up on a small thumb drive once a week. Remember, though, that if you need to restore your data, youre only going to be able to update to your last backup. So, if you are inputting lots of new data every single day, its worthwhile to run a backup each evening, rather than once a week or less.
Another option is to utilize an external hard drive. These are not expensive, and you can set the system up to do automatic backups at times of your choosing. You may even want to create separate files for each day of the week and simply have each day saved separately in these files. That means that by the time you get to Friday, you will already have four separate backups for the week. When Monday rolls around, the system will simply save the new weeks information over last weeks.
There are other forms of backup, too. Tapes used to be pretty common, although they do seem to have some inherent risks. Perhaps an offsite location that does a remote backup is a better option for you. No matter which method you utilize, though, remember to keep copies of your backups outside of the building. If you use an external hard drive, for example, consider purchasing two, and swapping them out each week. That way, if you have a fire or other event on the premises that destroys one copy, youll still have another to rely upon.
Setting up a data backup plan seems like an overwhelming task, but it really doesnt have to be. With a quick trip to the computer hardware store and a few minutes setting up automatic backups, you can protect yourself from some very real dangers.