Have you ever lost your wallet? I know I have. And every time I do I go through that same feeling - utter panic. In a careless minute, everything is gone - my driver's license, all of my credit cards, and money... LOTS and LOTS of money. OK... maybe I made that last part up. But if you've ever been there, you can relate. It's times like those that you really get a good picture of just how much those little mundane details in life can mean to you. I think Joni Mitchell said it best. "Don't it always seem to go, that you don't know what you've got ‘till it's gone?"
At this point, if you haven't already stopped to check for your wallet, it's a good time to do it. Go ahead. I'll wait... OK. Now that you're back, let's double-check one other thing. Take a look around your office. If that quick scan added up to more than a few backup CDs, external hard drives, or file cabinets filled with paper "backups" of your appraisal reports, your wallet is hanging halfway out of your pocket. If you didn't see any of those or some other backup solution, it's on the pavement at the local mall.
We all know that USPAP requires us to hang onto our appraisal reports for five years. But for some reason, we seem to think of them just like our wallets. They're just another detail... until we need them and they're not around. So many appraisers that I speak with are betting their entire business on a CD's ability to resist a scratch. Sure CDs are cheap, but they're not designed to be long term storage media. And paper isn't much better. Aside from taking up storage space and running up our monthly ink bills, paper is just as susceptible to wear and tear - whether it's by fire, water, wind, or a careless slip on our part. A lot of appraisers swear by external backup drives. And while they are on the better end of the backup spectrum, a badly timed electrical storm or a careless setup attempt can take them out.
So what IS the ideal backup solution, then? Off-site backups. By offloading the storage work to a backup vendor you need not worry about a flood, tornado, earthquake, or theft because the data is safely stored remotely. And all backup vendors worth their salt back up your backups. When it comes to appraisal backup software, you just can't beat Vault. Not only can it back up your reports. It can back up your whole WinTOTAL installation - QuickLists, contacts and all. And, yes, we do practice what we preach. With our primary data center in Oklahoma City, we're well aware that we're in tornado alley. That's why we back up all of your files to our Salt Lake City office in real time. Odds are you wouldn't even notice if we had an outage in OKC. So when it comes to your appraisal business, how safe is your wallet?
Editor's Note: To learn more about Vault, click here.