Learn about Computer Backups

Computer BackupsBackups are probably the most important part of any computer system.  Unfortunately, backups are the most commonly forgotten part of a computer or IT plan.

If you have important information, pictures of the kids, documents, taxes, etc. You need backups.

Many options are available to backup your data, we will list a few in this article, but the best approach is to do something, don’t just hope you will not have a problem.

RAID (Redundant Array of Independent Disks)
Not actually considered a backup, RAID is more of a highly available solution for your data. Which is good to have as part of your data integrity plan.  If you don’t have backups, at least have RAID!

RAID turns two or more drives into a single storage location. As an example, you could have two drives that are storing the exact same data, in the event one drive fails, your computer will continue to run and no data will be lost.

It is important that systems are setup and monitored properly. In the above example, if you do not replace the broken drive and the second fails, you will lose all your data. There is also a type of RAID that uses more than one disk to increase your available storage, but does NOT protect against a drive failure.

Most commonly used in servers or Network Attached storage; but can also be used in Personal Computers.  Can be setup to increase the drive performance and increase data integrity. RAID can also fail or corrupt your data; low cost RAID hardware is the primary cause of this.  If you have or need a RAID solution, contact us to learn more.

External Drive Connectivity
External Drives can be connected by USB and Network for PCs or Thunderbolt, Firewire for Apple computers.

Network Attached devices may be wired or wireless. Wired is preferred for higher speed and less disruption to your wireless network.

External Drive NAS
NAS or Network Attached Storage uses your network to communicate, it is important that you have a well-built network for this type of storage.

External Drives can be used to backup ALL your devices, including mobile devices, share access to the information as well as store or watch TV shows or movies.

External Drives range in quality and expandability. The most basic will have a single internal drive. Advanced systems support adding and removing drives using RAID technology to prevent data loss due to a bad drive or to increase storage.  These may even run their own operating system to perform all kinds of functions.

Functions can range from backups or sharing information to taking over tasks your computer would have been doing; like Camera or TV DVR functions.

External Drive Backups
External Drives can act as primary storage or backup storage.

For primary storage, you STILL need backups to another device or service. Most support backing up to the same type of device in this case you would need to purchase two units and store each in a different part of the house OR maybe backup once a month and store in a fire-safe or offsite location.

Backing up to a USB connected device may also be an option, this can save you some money when buying a higher end solution as your backup device could be a low cost alternative.

Backups from your external drive to your computer may be a low cost alternative to consider as well.

The key is to have at least two copies of your data somewhere.

If you need help setting up or procuring an external drive solution or backups, contact us to get help.

Cloud Backups
Cloud Backup solutions are abundantly available on the internet.

Make sure to do research on these solutions, they are not all built equally.  Think about the type of data and security requirements of your data, especially if your data is for business and your business has PCI or HIPAA requirements.  Also consider that some services keep deleted and changed files helping you to recover from those oops moments in life.  Most cloud services support keeping the files locally and backing up the data to the cloud, so you still have access if you loose internet connectivity.

Consider all devices you have now or may have in the future when looking for a provider.  As an example, if you are using Apple iCloud for your MAC or iPhone and decide to switch to a PC or Android, how will you get your data moved over? It may be worth considering a service provided by a company that supports both brands.

Testing / Recovery
You should test your backups at least twice a year, more if possible.  In your testing, make sure you can access the backup data, restore some files and if you have an extra computer, run a full restore of your data.

Things to consider when running restore tests:

  • How long does it take to restore (could you wait that long during your busiest time?)
  • Was the restore completed successfully and does it contain the latest backup version (Is that version new enough to work from?)
  • Did the backup job or restore task report any errors (would these errors prevent future restores from being successful?)

 

CloudSyncIT in the Bubble provide a secure backup solution that transfers and stores data in encrypted format, stores data both locally and in the cloud, keeps previous as well as deleted files and supports all major operating systems.  Learn more here.