Protect farm computer records against loss

Losing business-critical computer information could jeopardise the future of your farm, warns the designer of a novel back-up service launched this week.


Whether it is spray records, livestock movements, RPA mapping returns or single farm payment applications, farm businesses rely on computer records to function. Losing them to fire, flood, theft or data corruption could jeopardise your farm’s future, says Hampshire farmer Simon McCowen, creator of boxit4backup, a simple, cost-effective, fully retrievable service designed for farmers.


Research by London Chamber of Commerce shows 90% of businesses that lose data from a disaster are so severely affected that they are forced to shut within two years. All too often computer back-up systems are non-existent, out of date or corrupt themselves.


“Farming businesses seem to be hugely vulnerable, but there is nothing on the market dedicated to them. It’s all either for corporate businesses or home users,” says Mr McCowen, who has designed boxit4backup to meet the specific needs of farmers.


“We minimise download times, which can be a real issue in rural areas, by sending clients a mobile hard-drive for the first back-up. That is the big one, which we upload on to the servers. Subsequent on-line backups simply update that, so are far faster.”


Users also set their own schedule for back-ups – daily, weekly, monthly – whatever suits the business. “Other services don’t do that, which is a real weakness. There’s no value if the back-ups aren’t done routinely.” A telephone helpdesk is geared up to handle the specific needs of farmers.


Costs are kept low. “We know the data needs of farm businesses are less than those of corporate clients, so we can offer 3GB of storage for £7.50 a month, plus a £15 initial fee for post and packing on the hard drive. If more storage space is needed, it is available, but 3GB is enough to get started.”


For reliability data is stored at two huge data centres in Manchester and Sheffield, held on two separate servers at each facility for added protection. All data is fully encrypted for security.


“If the office burned down, a new computer could be up and running with the full farm database within 24 hours. It is a business safeguard that provides real reassurance in these days when on-line data and forms are such an important part of the farming business,” concludes Mr McCowen, who also runs a storage and retrieval business for company office records.


The service went live on Tuesday (1 September) with a goal of 3000 clients in the first year. Visit http://www.boxit.co.uk/b4b.aspfor a free 30-day trial.