Data loss can occur to anyone, anywhere, at any time. There are several ways data loss can happen. It can be the result of failing hardware or an encryption virus just to name a couple. Regardless of how it happens, data loss happens. The question is, what are you doing to protect your data? Do you back up important files or pictures? Does the company you run do data backups of all files? Bottom line is, there should be a backup system in place for you or your company. When we refer to a backup system, we don’t mean just one method, best recommended practice is to have at least two forms of data backup, a cloud backup as well as an onsite physical backup on a local device. You might wonder what the different methods of backing up data are, you might also wonder which is the right fit for your needs. Let’s take a look at the different methods of data backup.
One method of data backup is cloud storage. This is often a popular method and is readily available through many companies. In some cases, the storage service can be free of charge up to a certain amount of storage space. For example, Google Drive gives up to 15GB of free storage space. iCloud for Apple Products includes up to 5GB of storage.
What is Cloud Storage: Cloud Storage is the ability to securely store your data in another location. When you upload your information to a provider of cloud storage, your information is stored in a network of servers in several locations.
Pros of Cloud Storage:
- Can be done automatically
- Often services will have a certain amount of free storage space
- Upgrades are often affordable
- Your data is secured in remote locations
- Data is accessible anywhere you can reach internet and login
- Your data is transmitted securely
Cons of Cloud Storage:
- Capacity limitations for free storage
- There is risk of site closures (try to work with established companies)
- You must have internet access to back up your files
- Slower data recovery
External Hard Drive:
Another method of data backup is using an external hard drive. What is nice about this method is that you have options in what type of setup you would like to do for your backup on an external hard drive. One way you can use your external drive is to simply backup your files, basically using it as an extra storage drive to move data onto and off of. The best way to utilize your external drive is using it as a full image backup of your computer’s hard drive. Doing this regularly, whether weekly or daily, will keep your data secured on a second drive.
What is an External Hard Drive?
An External Hard Drive is pretty much what it sounds like- a hard drive that lives outside your computer. This portable device is an easy way to keep your data secure and backed up to your computer.
Pros of Using an External Hard Drive:
- Relatively cheap
- Plenty of storage space for larger files
- Easy to use & faster recovery times
- With software you can schedule backups
Cons of Using an External Hard Drive:
- Potentially open to problems which can result in lost data (i.e. a power surge or malware)
- Do have potential for failure, external hard drives can fail just as an internal hard drive can fail
- Should be stored off-site in case of fire or another catastrophe
- Fixed amount of data storage
USB Flash Drive:
Oftentimes, we are posed the question of using a flash drive as a backup option. A flash drive might be an excellent option, but when talking big picture, backing up long term and many files, especially for a company or a large amount of data, a flash drive isn’t the best option for a long term backup solution.
What is a USB Flash Drive?
A USB Flash Drive is a small drive that you can carry in your pocket. They are often just a little stick shaped device that plugs right into your computer’s USB port. This is a great method when backing up a few files as one of several backup options, but it shouldn’t be your only backup method.
Pros of Using an External Flash Drive:
- Easily transfer data to other sources
Cons of Using an External Flash Drive:
- Easy to lose
- Not always durable
- Capacity limitations
- Susceptible to malware
NAS Device (Network Attached Storage):
Businesses tend to backup their files to network attached storage (NAS), but with more and more homes having multiple computers, the idea has a certain appeal, especially for those looking to save files from more than one source. Your NAS can also be configured to work with a RAID configuration, a method used by the NAS to create redundancy between multiple drives.
What is a NAS?
A NAS is a storage device which houses multiple drives to store data. It can be operated wired or wirelessly-depending on the drive and your computer. Once configured, it can display as simply another drive on your computer.
Pros of Using a NAS:
- Can backup several computers at once
- Can be set for automatic backup
- Wireless solutions can also work with phones and tablets
- Can configure raid for redundancy and drive failure
- Can be expensive
- Can be awkward to set up and maintain
- Possibility of drive failure
The underlying message here is that you need to back up your data to prevent data loss. There is often a sense of “That won’t happen to me” but in reality, every computer user is at risk for data loss. Viruses infect computers, data gets encrypted, and hard drive failure are just some of the ways data loss may occur. Regardless of a home user or a business, you will want to be sure you have some type of data backup in place. It might be your family tree history that you’ve worked on for years. Maybe your first book, or pictures you’ve taken. Perhaps it’s a week, month, or years’ worth of company invoices. Whatever it is, if you can’t afford to lose it, you should back it up.
CompuTime, a locally owned company that has been in operation for over 20 years understands the changing landscape and needs of modern technology. As a service, CompuTime offers customers options to back up data and keep things secure. To learn more about the right backup option for your needs, give CompuTime a call, our friendly knowledgeable staff is ready to answer your questions.
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