March 31st, 2021 is World Backup Day. Data (our pictures, documents and other files) is an important part of our lives. But, life gets hectic and it’s easy to forget to back up your files. IntelliSystems provides a variety of comprehensive Backup and Disaster Recovery solutions for business clients but we want to remind you not to forget to back up your personal files on your home computers or other devices. Consider these tips in planning your solution but feel free to reach out if you'd like our advice:
Cloud backup products like Carbonite, Backblaze or Mozy can be a good first step for ensuring that basic data files are backed up. These solutions can have their limitations but they are easy and mostly work without your assistance once they are set up. The amount of security that these services offer varies as does the price based on factors like the amount of data or number of devices to protect so you'll want to do your homework.
If you have a tremendous amount of data, and/or want to hedge your bets on a cloud solution, a local backup to an external hard drive can be a great option. Most computer operating systems have a mechanism for making a backup but you can also simply make a manual copy to external storage. You might also consider an off-the-shelf backup program like StorageCraft ShadowProtect which can create an image (or snapshot) of your entire system. If you lose everything, you can easily recover whatever you need – from your full system to an individual file or folder.
Once you have a backup, you'll want to disconnect the drive and store it safely so that it doesn't get damaged or attacked in the same event that would push you into needing to restore data. If you have an external hard drive connected to your computer and encounter a fire, floor, power surge, or ransomware(just to mention a few), your backup will likely be lost too! Ideally, you would pair these two types of backups (cloud and local) for the best coverage.
Another option is to leverage cloud storage services to hold an extra copy of important documents. Free/Personal services like Dropbox, OneDrive or Google Drive often include some amount of free space that you can use to hold an extra copy of important documents and additional storage is available at a cost. Keep in mind that free services make their money somewhere and security may be questionable in the free services. If you have highly sensitive information to store, these services might not be your best option and they almost certainly are not the best option for NON-personal data.
Don't forget that for something to be a backup it can't be the only copy you have. Simply storing files in the Cloud, a USB drive or external hard drive isn't a backup if you don't have another copy. Many users are confused by the advice to store a copy of a file on a thumbdrive or in the cloud (as just two examples) and don't realize that these options can fail and take your data with them. It only works as a backup if you have multiple copies of the data you are protecting.
When choosing the best backup method, take these factors into consideration: upload speed, file restoration time, installation, cost, and computer-resource use. Also, consider the vulnerabilities of the system you choose. Both an external hard drive or backup CD can be damaged, destroyed or erased. Local backups can be affected if a virus was to infect your system. Cloud backups can be impacted by security breaches and weak passwords.
Don't lose your photos, documents, music, or other important files. Create a backup! Better yet- create a couple of backups!