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You should back up your data often and at regular intervals. You may want to keep one backup on site to restore data quickly if you encounter a system or hard drive error, but it's also important to keep some backups off site in a secure location, preferably not near your physical location. By keeping backups off site, your data can be restored if a disaster strikes your community. To learn more, see Storing Data Backups.
Here's a simple but effective strategy that may help your church, school, or organization when implementing a backup plan. It's a good idea to have four sets of backup copies, including:
Daily Backup Set A and Daily Backup Set B
Each day, you should back up your data on removable media such as a CD. It's a good idea to use two sets of backups to protect yourself from backing up to a bad CD. For example, you could use Set A on Day 1, Set B on Day 2, Set A on Day 3, and so forth. These backups can be used in case of system or hard drive failure or operator error.
When making manual backups on CDs or other removal media, always label the media with the type of backup (People or Financial), the date that the backup took place, and the backup file name. It's also a good idea to keep a log book with the above information, as well as the name of the staff member who made the backup.
Weekly Backup Set
You should also make a backup at the end of each week and store that backup at a location other than your workplace, so that it can be used in case of a catastrophe such as fire or flood. Once again, if you use a rewritable CD, you can reuse it each week, but you may want to consider rotating this set like you rotate your daily backup sets.
You can also use LiveStor to schedule a weekly backup of your data files and to store your data remotely. LiveStor can backup both your ACS data and your church, school, or organization's other important data. It's a great way to back up all of your important files with minimal effort and ensure that they can be easily recovered if a natural disaster or catastrophe occurs.
When using LiveStor, you can call 1-800-669-2509 to order a duplicate copy of the ACS program files in case of hard drive failure or catastrophe.
Monthly Backup Set
You should make a backup copy at the end of each month as part of your month-end accounting procedures. We recommend making the backup after you've printed your month-end reports, but before closing the current month. Use different removal media for each month so that at the end of the year you have 12 monthly archive backups. Be sure to give each backup a different name or place them in different directories.
You may also want to back up your picture files when you make monthly backups. Picture files rarely change, but reimporting them into ACS can take valuable time away from your organization's goals.
You can use the ACS Backup/Restore program to back up the following:
- All ACS data files
- People only data files
- Financial only data files
- All ACS data files and all ACS system files