Data backup system is almost always the most important factor of your computer or server, whether it is related to your job or leisure. Every single application or operating system can be reinstalled multiple times, but when you lose data, recovering and recreating the original data can be immensely stressful, frustrating or simply impossible without the backup systems in place.
Significant data loss in a company may result in its subsequent bankruptcy. You should always backup any valuable information and have a plan for recovering this data in case of failure or theft. Many different kinds of adverse events can happen to a computer or server, such as cyber-attacks, cyber theft, physical theft, hardware and software failure. However rapid data recovery from the properly installed backup system typically helps to minimize the negative impact of these all-too-often occurrences.
The types of data that you almost certainly should be backing up may include:
Any documents: word files, spreadsheets and other documents are typical example of things you likely need to back up. In case you are working on a different person’s computer, it helps to always have a flash-drive ready for use. Then you can simply copy to it, besides also being able to send the document via e-mail to your mailbox, or upload it to a cloud service and have it on-line.
Application and OS data. Any of the valuable entries that you do throughout the day should be protected and have a copy. These entries include e-mails, calendar entries, browsing history, contacts, social media and, often overlooked, application and operating system settings.
Media. Photographs, videos, sounds and other media need backing up. Media files are typically much larger in size, and may require a different strategy. This is discussed later in the article, in the context of the appropriate backup systems.
Here are some fundamentally important recommendations for your system backup strategy:
- First and foremost, you should encrypt any backup containing sensitive data.
- Second, you should not forget to put your backups in different locations; offline and online.
- Third, it is a good thing to always verify your backups to ensure that files are correctly backed up and can be retrieved.
Be especially cautious of using any USB or similarly connected device for storing any of your backup information. Backup systems that are implemented but are kept on media connected to your computer can be threatened by the very same dangers that your PC can.
If you have the benefit of using a fast internet connection, you can try installing an automated online backup service. With this approach, there’s no need to buy any hardware or connect something to your computer. The benefit is in the availability of the data from any computer which is connected to the internet. However, in the case of large data sets this solution can be slow, especially the first time you make a backup using these systems. We also do not recommend storing data or leaving sole backups in the automated online backup systems long term, as there have been multiple occasions when the providers have shut their services down and not been able to return any of the customer’s data.
It helps to determine how often you change your files. If you need to edit documents frequently and on an ongoing basis, it may be best to back them up via the Internet (either an automated online service, as discussed in the above paragraph, or with a more basic, manual online method). However, the internet can be a very slow option for backing up large media files. For this issue, try using physical hard drives which can then be taken off-site and offline to ensure their safety. By the way, don’t forget about good old-fashioned CDs and DVDs. They are cheap and versatile, but do tend to be slow. It all depends on how often your data changes, how much data you need to safeguard, how critical it is, and how patient you can be.
Creating a centralized data backup system is a good multi-server solution, where you connect several computers to one another, get internet through a router and use network-attached storage (NAS). The backup storage device is universal to all of the computers in the local network. This can be useful for using other devices, including printers, and for managing a high volume of data. The majority of NAS drives are already equipped with some tools for backing up. With them, you get instant access to a very large drive, which can hold large-file media from every connected PC. IT departments and data centers are often using such network attached storage devices, because of their efficiency.
The final stage to the problem is to back up the backup. Never have only one copy. Ensure your protection by adding multiple backups to your system. Always protect immediately necessary files, e-mail to yourself or put it on a web drive. Change your backup systems and have any file in at least three copies, preferably in different forms, online and offline. Try not to rely on the mechanical parts. If you expect your hard drives to last forever, you could be in for a lot of pain. Anything that has moving parts in it is much more likely to break down, as opposed to high-endurance CDs and DVDs that can last almost forever – although even then, only if stored correctly, which is difficult to ensure.
A good backup solution means you can sleep at night and helps you quickly get back to being productive in case of failure. Try to find an approach that will suit your needs and offers the best way for storing your valuable data. Devoting some time to determine the best backup approach that suits your needs may not be attractive, but it is necessary to protect yourself and your business. Always back up your data!