Back Me Up Here

A key element of any successful disaster plan must be routine computer backups

Among the hard lessons of September 11: the importance of data backup.

Ask Irshad Ahmed. As president of seven-employee Pure Energy Corp. on the 53rd floor of the World Trade Center's North Tower, he planned a doomsday scenario after the 1993 bombing. Yet, on September 11, Ahmed lost 35% of his records.

To be effective, backup must be done routinely.

Subscribe to an online storage service, such as Xdrive Technologies Inc. ($99 a month for 1.88 gigabytes) or Oracle Corp. ($99 a month for five users). Tape and disk media can be moved off site. Leading vendors include StorageTek and Hewlett-Packard Co. (about $20 to $80 per gigabyte). Or sign up for the kind of disaster and recovery services offered by SunGard Data Systems Inc. of Wayne, Penn., or CAPS Inc. in Shelton, Conn., which provide data backup and emergency work space.