Losing data can have disastrous consequences. Imagine if you lost all your holiday pictures. Or your vast collection of your favourite MP3s. Or, even worse, an essential work document. If this data is not backed up, reacquiring it can be time consuming and difficult, if not impossible. This article will examine the importance of backing up and storing data in a safe way to ensure that it can always be recovered if needed.
Why it is important to back up data
Data can be lost in a number of different ways.
While capable of holding vast amounts of data, physical hard drives are prone to breaking. Studies have shown, in fact, that as many as one in 100 hard drives will fail within a few years of it being bought. Writable DVDs and blu-rays are also susceptible to damage, particularly from scratches.
Data can also be lost to physical acts due to accidents or natural disasters. Fires, earthquakes, tornados and other natural events can all lead to the destruction of data.
Data can also be lost to computer problems such as viruses, trojans or other malicious pieces of software.
Data can also be accidentally deleted. A slip of the finger leading to an incorrect key press could easily lead to an entire hard drive being wiped.
Offsite Backup and Recovery
Offsite backup and recovery is one of the safest and most reliable forms of data backup available. Data is backed up and stored on physical media, either DVDs, blu-rays or tapes, and then stored in another facility at a different location. This means that, in the case of a fire or other type of natural disaster, the backups will not be damaged and can be used to recover any lost data. For additional security, these backups can be stored in fire proof safe that are impervious to fire damage.
Data can be recorded to the backup media physically or remotely through the internet. While internet backup can be more convenient, it’s important to note that backing up large amounts of data can take a long time on slower internet connections.
Offsite backup and recovery can be carried out by an individual or by a third party provider. Both options have their pros and cons.
In the past, third party offsite backup and recovery services used to be expensive, but falling storage and broadband internet costs have led to the introduction of cheaper backup services designed exclusively for the home user and the small business. These internet based services allow data to be backed up through the internet with a backup stored securely on the servers of the backup provider. If data needs to be restored, this can be done by downloading the stored data from the servers. Some providers can also mail out an external USB hard drive containing the data at a cost.
Some third party providers will physically come to the location of your data and back up the data themselves. This option can be considerably more expensive than using internet based backup services, however.
Self-backup is a cheaper option for those looking to back up their data without relying on a third party to do so. Backup software can be used to back up data onto physical media where it can be stored in a secure location. Whereas third party companies often ask for a monthly fee, self-backup is front loaded with the upfront cost of the physical media being the greatest expense.
Cloud storage providers like Dropbox, Google Drive and Windows Skydrive also offer storage for files to be stored in the cloud. This data can be accessed instantaneously and can be spread to other computers with ease. This option is incredibly expensive, however, with storage prices being significantly higher than dedicated backup providers.
Data can easily be lost through a natural disaster, an accident or bad luck, which is why it’s important to back up data. By using offsite data backup and recovery, data can be stored securely and easily restored in case of data loss.
Nathan Morgan has been a IT professional for 14 years. His work is currently focused on Linux servers. He has encryption experience including the deployment of True Crypt and similar packages, and detailed knowledge of document scanning solutions to transform off-line archives into accessible digital data.