In the spirit of giving our users the best possible information on online backup, this is the first of many blog posts from me, the Backup Master. As a hardware and software technology expert, it’s my job to help my clients with many tasks – including online backup. Below is my first entry, covering three standard schools of thought on online backup.
Online Backup – The New School
There are usually three schools of thought regarding the concept of data backup when I poll my home or home-business clients.
- Should I be backing up?
- I know I should be backing up, but I’m really bad about it.
- I backup regularly.
More often than not, they fit into one of the first two schools. Unfortunately, backup isn’t at the top of most home users’ minds and never has been. The primary reason for this is that in the past, backup has been a complicated burden requiring additional hardware and the ability to stick to a schedule. Times have changed.
Should I Be Backing Up?
The answer is easy: yes! I often ask my customers to start imagining pictures of children, tax documents and emailed account statements to illustrate just how important backing up your home computer’s data can be. Who wants to lose this stuff? It’s irreplaceable. .
I Know I Should Be Backing Up, But I’m Really Bad About It
I feel your pain. The primary reason is that the whole process is cumbersome. Backing up to floppies, CDs, DVDs or external hard drives requires a degree of manual intervention.
I Backup Regularly
Those who belong to this school of thought are those that I usually have to ask the two most important questions. I’ll list them below with the most common answers I receive.
Q: How often do you backup?
A: I don’t know. Windows does it automatically.
Q: Where is the backup going?
A: To an external hard drive.
Windows offers a minimal backup solution that can regularly backup critical data to a removable hard drive. In most cases, when the drive fills up, the oldest backups are deleted to make room for more recent files. What about those pictures of little Suzy’s first Halloween? They might get trumped by a bank statement.
Why Change Now?
My customers in the first two schools have the easiest transition to an online backup solution. Online backup will eliminate the worry and the hassle and get them on a regular schedule of protecting their data.
The third school usually takes a little more convincing. They have a system that works well. Windows or third-party backup software keeps a regular schedule protecting the data. Some users even go to the trouble of switching to a new drive every few days and taking the other drive to work or another safe place. After a little prodding, I usually find that they are closer to the second school of thought. They may be more regular, but not perfect. Let’s face it; keeping up with it is not an easy task.
Though their system is safer than the majority of users, it still has its flaws. If they don’t take a copy of their data to another location (the cloud, for instance), they are only protecting themselves from hard drive failure. A power surge, theft or fire will usually leave the external hard drive in the same situation as the computer it is backing up. Even the offsite backups are sometimes at risk. Natural disasters such as earthquakes or flooding can cover a wide geographic area. Is the offsite storage location outside of that range? Reputable online backup companies have several offsite data centers, to ensure that the data is safely out of a range of natural disasters. SOS has 11 data centers around the world.
The New School
A good online backup solution eliminates the hassle of traditional backups. Data is transferred securely and regularly (even continuously as changes are made) to an offsite location. From there, it is usually replicated again to another location in another geographic location. Total cost is low, and the time spent backing up is minimal as the system only backs up changes to files.
After a client graduates to the new school they soon realize the peace of mind a good backup brings, finally free of the hassle of actually implementing it.
–The Backup Master