Baseline Knowledge Articles

Data Backup
In the world of information technology (IT) it's called data backup or data recovery and it can mean the difference between a slight computer setback and living through your own electronic apocalypse.

Computers have become a big part of life; we work, shop, and play on them.  Yet the New York Times is reporting that Microsoft research shows that 9 out of 10 PC owners do not regularly back up their files.(1)

There are many ways you can unintentionally lose information on a computer.  Data could be lost through, for example, a power surge, lightning, floods, malware, viruses or even a child playing the keyboard like a piano.  Sometimes equipment just fails.  Computers aren't perfect.  Files become corrupt, motherboards malfunction, random access memory (RAM) fails and/or a hard drive calls it quits, taking precious data with them.

In today’s business environment that is so reliant on information technology it is vitally important to identify alternatives that can eliminate vulnerabilities.  Lost information can cause a major crisis or worse, lead to business failure.  Individuals who do not back up their computer data run the same risk.  While this may not cause financial ruin, it can certainly be frustrating, time consuming and expensive.

One dilemma for backup users and businesses is deciding what data to back up.  Anything you cannot replace easily should be at the top of your list.  When in doubt, add it to your list!

Another dilemma is deciding where to put the backups.  Storing your backup data locally on another hard drive is obviously not the best option as theft, natural disasters and catastrophic events can happen at any time.  Regular backup of your data and keeping them in a separate location will enable you to get back some, if not all, of your data in the event something happens to the originals on your computer. 

Options for Backups:

External devices:

CD-RW is a compact disc onto which you can burn information if you have a CD-RW drive. (RW stands for "read-write.") CD-RW discs can hold up to 700MB (megabytes)

DVD-RW is a DVD onto which you can burn information if you have a DVD-RW drive.  DVD-RW discs can hold gigabytes of information. (1024 megabytes = 1gigabyte)

USB flash drive is like a small hard drive, about 2-3 inches long, that plugs into your computer through a USB port. You can download information onto it for storage.

Portable or external hard drive is a hard drive that sits outside the main computer in its own enclosure.  The external hard drive is connected to the computer via a high-speed interface cable.  The interface cable allows the external hard drive to communicate with the computer so that data may be passed back and forth.

NOTE:  External or portable devices may require manual setup and/or activation and therefore may reduce conformability.  Another concern is the reduced size of these devices as they tend to be misplaced or lost.  Therefore, encryption should be priority.

Online Backup:

An online storage service lets you save files online.  Online backup offers the potential for a larger amount of storage space than some other backup devices.  If you have high speed Internet access, you can get your files from the online storage site whenever you need them.

NOTE:  Internet bandwidth restrictions limit online storage as large databases take too much time to upload to storage locations. 

Offsite backup of data is crucial for protecting your business's continuity and the accepted practice is backing up data nightly and storing it offsite. 

Many businesses need an affordable, low overhead solution.  Monidax can help you design a data backup system to meet your needs.

(1) http://www.michaelhorowitz.com/backupclass.html