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Michael Esposito

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Don’t Get Caught With Your Shorts Down

I am posting this blog on behalf of Praveen Tamvada, Director of Marketing, Auto/Mate Dealership Systems

 

Last weekend was my son’s birthday party, and I had the brilliant idea of providing him and his friends with water pistols as a form of entertainment. Of course, I didn’t anticipate they would make ME the prime target of their water soaking misadventures. In a nutshell: I got soaked, changed clothes and the next day my wife threw my sodden shorts into the wash.

 

I had forgotten to take my cell phone out of the pocket.

 

Of course my wife felt terrible, but I bet not as terrible as I felt! I had taken pictures of the birthday party that were only on that phone. On top of that, there was other data, e-mails and many, many contacts. Like a lot of people, I feel like my smartphone has become an integral part of my existence. Living without one is tough. It’s not so much the device itself, but what’s on the device that’s important.

 

The Apple store said the phone was beyond help—of course they wanted me to purchase a new phone. I get that, but I didn’t feel like shelling out the money. So I spent a few days researching on the Internet and trying out various recommendations: throwing my phone in a bag of rice for two days, cleaning the pins and connectors, doing a hard reboot and then charging the phone for 24 hours. Last night my son was the first one who noticed the Apple logo glowing on the small LCD screen. We all rushed over to the charger and stared at the phone in disbelief. Voila! iPhone resurrected.

 

Fortunately I did not lose any data; but while I was in the Apple store they reminded me that thanks to iCloud, none of my data would be lost. They could simply download everything from the iCloud, a service that backs up my iPhone automatically.

 

This was a reminder to me how important it is to have regular back-ups of your dealerships’ data. Not just the data in your dealership management system (DMS) but also back-ups of the data on every individual PC.

 

Is your dealership doing a good job of backing up all your data on a regular basis? Do you even know when your last back-up was?

 

I’ve known of a couple dealers who have gone months without a system back-up and then had their servers crash. Of course they could never hope to recreate or retrieve all their data. The best-case scenario is spending an enormous amount of time and energy just to get the DMS to a point where the dealership can go forward from an accounting standpoint.

 

I’ve worked with two other dealers who had their servers stolen; one by an employee, another by a complete stranger who just walked into the dealership and walked out with the server. Then there’s the fire and flooding dangers.

You never know when something is going to happen.

 

With today’s cloud technology, there’s no excuse to not have a system in place that automatically backs up your data on a daily basis. If you still use a back-up drive, how often do you back up your data? Once a week? Once a month? If your server went down tomorrow, how long would it take everyone to re-enter data from the last week or the last month? How much is that lost productivity worth? And frankly, who wants the aggravation? Also, if you use a tape drive, remember to always keep a copy of your latest back-up off site.

 

Dealers using a DMS with Application Service Provider (ASP) technology are already being backed up into the cloud, and don’t have to worry about it. However, they shouldn’t forget other non-DMS documents and data stored in PCs and in other third-party vendor systems.

 

For a low monthly fee, Auto/Mate, along with most other DMS vendors, will back up all the data in your dealership management system (DMS) to “the cloud.” There are plenty of low-cost vendors like Carbonite.com that can back up all the data on your PCs.

 

Hopefully you will never get caught with your shorts down. Just remember, it’s when you least expect it that the unexpected happens. If a disaster hit you tomorrow, would it really be a disaster? Or would it be a mere bump in the road, because you know you can have your entire network up and running again, with all of your data current, within 24 hours?

 

What is that peace of mind worth to you?

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