Data backup is a relatively easy but completely essential part of computer ownership; here are some tips for developing a good backup system that’s right for your situation.
- Is my backup really redundant really redundant?
(That is as close to a joke as this article will get, unfortunately.)
In order for data backup to be successful, a copy of your data must exist completely separately from the original data.
The virtual data room has every security measure known in the virtual world of cyber, but still the best laid plans of mice and men tend to go wrong, therefore it is necessary to exercise caution.
This means that if you’re simply copying files to a different folder on your hard drive, while you may be protecting yourself from some types of data corruption, you’re not protecting your data from any type of hard drive failure or a virus that might affect the entire drive. For a backup to be useful, you’ve got to keep identical copies of your data on separate media; one copy on your main hard drive, for instance, and one copy on an external hard drive or flash drive.
The more redundancy you have, the better your back up system is. While not likely, it’s very possible that two hard drives could fail at once. In this case, having a third copy of your data would be invaluable. Many computer users choose to keep two extra copies of their important files; one manually backed up copy, updated at regular intervals, and one automatically backed up copy.
- Is my backup kept off site from the original copy of my data?
For a backup system to be safe from natural disasters and acts of God, it needs to be located somewhere other than the physical location of the original copy of your data. This is the problem with most external hard drives; they’re pretty much going to have to be next to the computer they’re backing up. Online data backup services are a great way to get around this problem; if you prefer to use an external hard drive, though, consider keeping a copy in storage if your data is particularly sensitive.
- Do I need automatic data backup?
Many people, like the author of this article, don’t have the time or the patience to back up their data themselves. And even the most dedicated people can occasionally forget to do something important–if you forget to back up your data and your drive fails, it might prove to be disastrous, or at least terribly expensive.
Automatic data backup prevents your own procrastination from becoming an issue, and it’s a standard feature on most online data backup services and on most data backup software. If you’re only backing up a certain file that won’t be changed very often, you can probably handle backing up your data manually, but otherwise, check to make sure that whatever backup option you’re looking at is automatic.
- How often should I back up my data?
As I’d said earlier, if the file or files you’re backing up don’t change very often, you don’t need to back up your data very often. If your files change every few days, it may not be worth your bandwidth to run an online backup daily, you’ll want to schedule backups for times that are appropriate to the files that are being protected.