Data Backup – Play It Safe!
We are all different. We have different jobs, families and interests, so it makes sense that our computer data backup needs would be different too. Fortunately, backup software manufacturers understand that, and offer backup choices to fit virtually any need.
Data backup is an insurance plan. Important files are accidentally deleted all the time. Mission-critical data can become corrupt. Natural disasters can leave your office in ruin. With a solid backup and recovery plan, you can recover from any of these. Without one, you’re left with nothing to fall back on.
Configuring a Data Backup Plan:
There are three basic types of backup: full, incremental and differential. Put simply, full backups allow you to make a copy of all the data files on your computer in a single shot. They are perfect for computer novices and for the average home computer and should be performed weekly.
The other two basic data backup types, differential and incremental, are more for people who work from home or who want to backup a computer used in a business. These types of data backups are typically done several times a week (if not daily) for maximum protection against data-loss.
Differential backups only backup the files that have changed since your last full backup, so these take longer and use more storage space, but have a shorter restoration time.
Incremental backups only backup the files that have changed since your last backup (whether your last backup was a full or an incremental backup) so incremental backups are quicker and take less space, but restoration time is much longer as you must restore both your last full backup and all of the incremental backups performed since that time.
The three primary ways to back up data:
Pros: With no third party involved, you have complete control over your data backup.
Cons: Hard drives can fail, so making multiple backups is a good idea. They also require more work and time.
Data Storage Company:
Options with data storage companies range from an inexpensive file-and-folder backup service, to thousands of dollars for more complex services that allow employees more access to backed-up data.
Pros: Backups are automatic, so you don’t have to worry about doing it yourself. Because the data is kept offsite, it’s protected from a system meltdown or anything else that occurs in your office. Some services are very customized, allowing you to schedule automatic backup times for certain documents.
Cons: The cost for more customized enterprise-level services may be too high for some small businesses, and certainly for most home office users.
Cloud storage provides online storage through a third-party service, requiring small service fees but no capital investment. You start by picking an option through a service provider and installing software on the computers you wish to backup.
For example, services like Carbonite run in the background, and according to schedule, look for changed data. They will automatically encrypt and upload the data over the Internet to an offsite location.
Pros: Cloud solutions are less expensive than data storage companies and protect data in case of a disaster in your office. If you have a fast Internet connection, updates occur quickly and frequently, and may back up data from computers in multiple locations.
Cons: The service may get interrupted when the Internet goes down or if the backup service is undergoing maintenance. Both of these issues are rare, and are usually short term.
Considering Your Software Data Backup Options
Many of today’s data backup software programs offer a wide array of backup options; giving you the flexibility to create a backup and recovery solution that will fit your needs. Here are a few:
- One-Click System Data Backup Capability: If simple is what your life demands, then this tool may be just what the doctor ordered. Although it’s only available on select backup products, this convenient tool makes a full system backup with the click of a single button.
- Files-In-Use Backup: If the data you need to backup changes throughout the day, this tool is a good choice, as it can perform several data backups while your computer is active. The ability to backup files while in use is an excellent tool for those that work from home or those in an office with projects that evolve throughout the day. This tool is available with most backup software programs.
- Complete System Backup: Also called Image Backup, Drive Image and Hard Drive Image, a complete system backup saves a copy of your entire hard drive, including your operating system, registry, drivers, software application as well as your data files—allowing you to restore your entire computer back to a given point in time. A complete system backup is a good alternative to reformatting a hard drive that’s heavily infected with spyware or computer viruses.
Disclaimer: Please note that we are not responsible for data loss due to and including, but not limited to viruses, malware, spyware, hardware failure, data corruption, etc.