Monday, July 1, 2013

How Safe is your CRM Data?

In the light of increase in natural disasters, changes to technology and human error we thought it would be useful to open up a discussion about data loss (with specific emphasis on CRM data) and how to prevent it.

Why Preventing Data Loss is Important

For many businesses, the information in their CRM is priceless because it stores all of the key information about their customers. Without it, sales people would have to rely on other data sources such as accounting and email systems to piece together key information about their clients. This would result in a significant loss in productivity and can negatively impact customer service and sales.

Data loss can occur as a result of a variety of factors including:
  • Natural Disasters & other sources of physical damage (e.g. earthquakes, hurricanes, theft & fire)
  • Viruses & IT System Failures (e.g. server crash)
  • Other Software (e.g. updates & integrations not installing correctly or corrupting your data)
  • Human Error (e.g. bulk updating or deleting contacts)

Ways to keep your CRM data safe

  1. Regularly back up your database: How often you do this may vary depending on how extensively you use your CRM with most businesses choosing to backup daily (you should be able to continue using your CRM while you are running your backup).
  2. Test your backups: How confident are you that your backups will run as they should, first time? The only way you can be sure is to test after each backup, and also if there have been changes to your machines (e.g. after installing addons, service packs, updates to your CRM or other software that affects it such as firewalls and major windows updates, or updates to your hardware)
  3. Store your backups in a safe place: There are many alternatives for storing your backups, the important thing to ensure is that the backup is not stored in the same location as your current database and that it is protected. If you are considering using a cloud storage provider have a read of their security policy first.
  4. Backup your backups: For some businesses having multiple backups is essential, simply follow the same rules as above for protecting your backups.
  5. Perform regular maintenance: To ensure that your database continues to run smoothly and efficiently it is advisable that you regularly run database maintenance tools such as re-indexing and deleting obsolete data.

Backing up your ACT! database

For information on how to backup and restore your database read this knowledgebase article. Please note that different procedures apply depending on your version of ACT! and your setup so be sure to read the article carefully.

If you would like to set ACT! to automatically backup your database you can do this using the ACT! Scheduler, details on how to set this up can be found here.

ACT! preventative maintenance

As described above there are a few ways you can maintain your database...
  • Check & Repair: This process checks for any errors in your database and repairs them, and also re-organizes the database storage area to increase access speed.
  • Remove Old Data: You can use the ACT! Database maintenance tools to selectively remove data older than “x” days from your database.

For more information on ACT! preventative maintenance including instructions on running the ACT! Diagnostic utility read this knowledgebase article.

Always ensure you have read and understood all the instructions before running any backup process or diagnostic utility. If you are unsure about performing these tasks yourself contact your ACT! Consultant.

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