Data Backup

Data backup

When was the last time you carried out #data #backup? Backing up of important computer files is vital, yet one of the most overlooked parts of maintenance.

When our computer repair team at North Wales PC Repair visit people homes, they are very often told that the computer owner checks for viruses, check the hard drive for errors and even de-fragments their computer regularly. But, it is rare to hear that they have backed up their important data.

I hear and have experienced some horror stories of lost data. Stories such as, lost family photos that will never be replaced, lost annual accounts, lost contracts and so on. Whilst at Esthetig, we offer a data recovery service that is backed by one of the leading data recovery companies, no data recovery is guaranteed. It is far better to get into a good habit of data backup.

Ask yourself how vital is the data on your computer, tablet, laptop or phone? How inconvenient would it be if you lost it? In many cases, the loss of data can cost thousands of pounds in lost business for a company. For home users, the loss of photos can be devastating; especially if the subject of those photos is no longer around or the memory the photo represents cannot ever be recreated.

Data Backup best practices

At Esthetig, we strongly recommend the 3-2-1 method of data backup:

  • 3 copies of your data
  • 2 different formats
  • 1 copy off-site

3 Copies of your data

Three copies of your data means holding three copies in different locations. This doesn’t mean storing the copies on the same hard drive as the original (or even in a partition on the same hard drive!). Backups stored on the same hard drive will be lost along with the original if the hard drive fails.

What you should do is ensure that you have a copy on a different hard drive (maybe put your data backup on an external hard drive) and a further backup of your data in another different location. That way you will have three copies of your data in different locations.

2 Different formats

It is vital to ensure your data backup is held in different formats. Formats such as USB pen stick, external hard disk, CD/DVD disk, Cloud storage online. This will ensure that if your original data or hard drive is damaged in any way, you will have the ability to recover the files easily.

1 Copy off-site

There is no point having all your data backups stored near your computer or even in the same building. If a fire or theft occurs, the data backup will be lost along with the original data; rendering the backups completely useless. You may think that this won’t happen, but everyone who has been burgled or had a fire never thought it would happen to them either!
Google Photos offer you free unlimited storage of your photos stored in high quality format.

Recommended Backup Routine

How often you change your data (add, edit or delete) will determine how often you should backup the data. I would strongly recommend that you backup your data every time it changes. You could use this method to ensure your backup is safe:

Every time your data changes (at the end of the day) you should backup your data to a different hard drive (either inside your computer or an external one). Many computers seem to have more than one drive as you may have a C: drive, a D: drive and so on. Be careful though as, often these are partitions on the same hard drive. If in doubt, backup to a hard drive you know is completely separate to the one that the data is stored on.

Backup your data to cloud storage. These are often inexpensive, from companies such as Google with their Google Drive, Microsoft with their OneDrive and DropBox to name but a few. If you have a more modern computer running Windows 8 or Windows 10, Microsoft include OneDrive giving you 15 GB of storage if you have an online account to log in to your computer. You can get free storage by signing up for a Google account or DropBox account also (there are lots of other providers, but these are the ones most people are familiar with). How much space you receive free varies, but they all offer upgrades for reasonable prices. Using cloud storage in your backup routine also helps you ensure at least one copy of the data is off-site.

Backup your data to a portable drive such as USB memory stick or external hard drive. Doing this also has the advantage that you can take this home with you at night to give you peace of mind the data is off-site.

At Esthetig we do the following: We use Microsoft OneDrive to store all of our data both locally on the computers and off-site in the cloud. Every day, we back up our data to a separate hard drive, this is copied to our DropBox account to ensure we have our third copy of the data with two of the backups being off-site.

Recently, Google moved Google Photos away from their Google + service and allow you to have unlimited storage (as many photos as you can take) of your photos providing they are in high-quality format (low-quality photos count against your Google Drive account limit). This is a no-brainer, open a Google account and download Google Photos to your phone and set it to automatically upload new photos to Google Photos every time you take a photo. You can download the Google Photos upload tool here.

These days, it is even easier to carry out data backup, there are tools built into most operating systems (including Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 10). At Esthetig, we use Nova Backup to ensure our data backup routine is fully automated. Nova Backup allows you to schedule the backup (ensuring it can be done when the data isn’t in use) and backup to several different locations, including cloud storage. Again there are other backup tools (a simple Google search will reveal hundreds) but, this is the one I have the most experience of using.

Don’t loose those vital files, backup now!