By now, most computer users know that it’s important to back up your data frequently. But knowing what you should do and executing the action plan to get it done are, unfortunately, two different things. Where should you start when it comes to backing up your data? Fortunately, as with most things related to technology today, you have options.
24 Hour Data explores popular options for data backup. We hope you’ll pick one or more of these methods to save yourself from a data recovery emergency. But remember that we’re always here to help. Whether your back-ups have failed, or it’s been weeks or just hours since your last back-up, we can help you recover mission critical data and valuable family files quickly and affordably.
Data Back Up Method 1: External Hard Disk Drive
With affordable hard disk drives available in sizes from 1TB to 8TB and up at affordable prices, and easy connectivity through USB2 or Firewire, there’s no reason not to back up your data on an external hard drive from a data storage manufacturer like Seagate or Western Digital.
Benefits: Easy to use, affordable, sturdy, large (to hold all your data in one location), can be encrypted for data security.
Drawbacks: For home users, external drives are likely to be stored in the same location as the computer or server, which means that if a fire, flood or natural disaster affects your machine, your backups may be lost, too. Hard disk drives are also susceptible to shock damage if dropped. For business users considering long term data storage, hard disk drives may deteriorate without regular use.
Data Back Up Method 2: USB Flash Drives
USB flash drives are ubiquitous in the world of technology. They can serve as adequate back-ups for college students or families storing limited numbers of documents and photos.
Benefits: Price, ease-of-use, convenience, portability
Drawbacks: Their small size makes them easy to lose. They are not encrypted so data can be at risk of theft. Relatively small storage capacity makes them suitable for home users but not businesses.
Data Back Up Method 3: CD-ROMs or DVD-ROMs
Many people still use CDs or DVDs to back up their data. These disks would be best used for monthly or annual photo backups, since they are easy to store and convenient to view files on any computer.
Benefits: Portable, so you can store backups remotely, inexpensive, convenient
Drawbacks: Data is not encrypted, so it’s not secure. CDs and DVDs are prone to scratching, which can corrupt files and render your back-ups unreadable. It could take many DVDs to back up an entire hard disk drive.
Data Back Up Method 4: Tape Storage
Many enterprise level businesses rely on tape for mission critical data storage, particularly when it comes to monthly or annual backups. Tapes can be stored conveniently off-site for access in the event a national disaster damages mission critical servers.
Benefits: Tape storage permits storing large amount of data affordably. Tapes can last as long as 30 years or more and are not susceptible to shock damage. Easy off-site storage.
Drawbacks: High upfront costs. It may be slower to access recovery files off tape than off hard disk drives.
Data Back Up Method 5: Cloud Storage
More and more business and personal computer users are turning to cloud-based storage for their back-up needs. Cloud-based backups come in a number of forms, from storing all your data on Google Drive at the end of the night, uploading to Dropbox, or using a photo service such as FlickR for backup. At a higher level, business and personal users may consider using a dedicated cloud backup service to protect their mission critical files. Either of these solutions offers many advantages.
Benefits: Access to your mission critical files from anywhere you have Internet access. Remote storage protects your files in the event of a natural disaster. Free or extremely inexpensive storage.
Drawbacks: Data stored online may or may not be encrypted and secure. Operating System files may not be saved if you opt for a service like Google Drive or FlickR. Cloud-based backup services have monthly fees.
Choosing a Back Up Process
As you can see, users have a lot of choices when it comes to data backups, and the right data backups will vary depending on the frequency of backups required, amount of data to be backed up, and how important that data is, as well as the importance of keeping the data secure.
From tape-based data backup systems to easy cloud-based systems or even USB flash drives, businesses and individuals will opt for different data backup solutions. Since data backups are such an important part of avoiding a data recovery emergency, we will explore this topic in more depth in future posts.
For now, we’d like to remind you that it doesn’t matter so much which data backup method you choose, but that you choose one and then make regular backups at whatever frequency you determine is best. Even if your backup process involves plugging in a USB drive and saving your latest photos or the day’s documents, that may be enough for a home user.
Businesses should make data back-ups and a data recovery action plan part of their business continuity plan. Regular backups won’t prevent every data recovery emergency, but they will help. For the rest, there’s 24 Hour Data.