Always be prepared.
One problem that I see all the time with home clients as well as business clients is that they never think that data corruption or loss can happen to them. Or they just haven’t thought through the implications of losing all the information they have stored up over the years.
If you running a business, are you prepared to start from scratch with customer lists, account information, order history, emails etc? For home users do you really want to lose all the pictures of your children, vacations and parties? I have had to deliver the sad news before, and it is not a nice feeling, especially when you consider how easy it is these days to think like a scout and be prepared.
We need to be ready for everything from a system crash, to theft or destruction of your premises, to natural disaster.
The simplest option, if you have relatively small amounts of data is to have a USB thumb drive, or memory stick. These can be purchased at any store that sells computer parts, and come in sizes such as 8 GB, 32 GB, etc. They are relatively inexpensive and simple to use.
You can also purchase a backup drive, which is an external hard drive that connects to a USB port on your computer and usually stays there. You can set your computer to automatically backup at certain intervals. Windows 7 has a great built-in backup program. If you click on Start, then type “Backup” in the “Search programs and files” area, the first option will be “Backup and Restore”. Follow the prompts in that program to setup your backup schedule and your good to go.
So if you use one of those systems, you will have taken a great step towards protecting your data. You will be protected against system failure. If your system crashes, you will simply restore from the most recent backup. But what if your premises is vandalized, or you have a fire? There is a good chance that both your systems and your backup devices will be lost or destroyed. We need to have an offsite backup.
The simplest and most inexpensive way to have an offsite backup is to simply take your backup device offsite for storage at another location. For home users you can leave it at a nearby relatives house. At an office you can assign one person to take the device home with them weekly or daily. This will usually require you to have more than one device so you can rotate the offsite with the onsite device, but these devices are so inexpensive these days that that should not be an issue.
The third option, and the one that takes care of all aspects of a proper backup plan with no user intervention is what’s called Online Backup, such as a virtual data room. This is essentially renting space on a server on the internet, and installing a program on your computer(s) that will automatically send your data to that server in real time, meaning as soon as you edit a document or store a new picture, it will be sent off for remote storage.
This is a great thing because not only does it store your data offsite, in real time, but it completely removes the biggest barrier to proper backup procedures: People. Since the machine takes care of everything, there is no margin of human error. The only downside is that once you get large amounts of data, it can get costly, since you are paying a monthly fee for the storage space.
As you can see there are many options for backup these days, and they are for the most part pretty affordable. Take some time, talk to your computer tech, decide what you can and cannot live without. Anything that you can’t live without needs to be backed up now before it’s too late.