In today’s digital world, both people and businesses lead a lot of their life on a computer. An individual’s computer will contain all of their important documents, photographs, films, music and projects while a business is likely to store vital company and customer data amongst other types of files which are crucial to the company. Anyone that has lost their data before knows just how devastating this can be and have a lasting impact on their life. It is for this reason why data backup is so important for both people and businesses, yet it is also an area that a large percentage do not know how to do effectively. Here is everything that you need to know about backing up.
What Is Backing Up?
So, what exactly is backing up your data? This simply involves making a copy of the data and storing it in a separate place to the original file location. This means that there is another version available to you if something were to happen to the original file.
Why Do You Need To Backup?
Many people believe that there is no need to back up their data, but this is dangerous thinking. You can lose data through any number of reasons and, although there are possibilities for recovery, it is much more straightforward to restore from a backup. The most common reasons that people lose their data include:
- Malfunctioning hardware
- Accidental deletion/human error
- An event such as fire, flooding, theft, dropping the device
- An invasion such as a virus
The last one is particularly important to be aware of as cybercrime is on the rise with both businesses and individuals being targeted. Although cybersecurity is constantly improving, it is an ongoing battle, and there are always new threats being developed.
What Backup Systems Are Available?
The good news is that there are many different methods and systems that you can use to backup all of your important data. What you use will depend on a few different factors, such as storage size requirement, the importance of the data, and the resources available to you.
You can use optical discs and USB drives to backup small amounts of data, but for larger amounts, you can use external hard disks, cloud storage, and systems designed to backup all of the data on your computer (these are particularly valuable for businesses).
These complete backups are known as a “bootable backup” or a “clone” as it is a complete copy of the primary hard drive. This means that if the primary drive were to fail for whatever reason, you could simply reboot from the clone, and you would have immediate access to files and software with all of the same settings. This also means that if you were to lose just one file then it could easily be recovered from the bootable backup (provided it was made before the last update).
How Often Should I Backup?
This will depend on the importance of the data and how often you use the computer. With certain systems, you can set it up to backup data automatically when files have been changed or saved which is a smart move for businesses because it means that there will always be an up-to-date backup available so you should never lose data even if you lose the original.
How Do I Protect My Backup Data?
Of course, you will want to make sure that the backup data remains safe too so that you can rely on it if something were to happen to the original file. You can protect your backups by making sure that they are kept externally (not on the original hard drive) and through safeguarding. You can safeguard the data by making them password restricted or you could use data encryption.
What Is Data Encryption?
Data encryption is an excellent way to protect important data and should be considered by all computer users. It is simply a method where information is encoded so that it is no longer in its original form and will not be accessible to those without the correct data encryption key. Data encryption is usually quite straightforward and simply involves going into Properties, choosing Advanced and selecting the Encrypt contents to secure data box and then pressing Apply to make the changes.
How Do I Verify My Bootable Backup Works Properly?
It is important for peace of mind that you know that your bootable backup works so that you do not panic if your primary hard drive crashes for one reason or another or if you lose important data. Fortunately, it is relatively easy to test that your bootable backup is working as you simply go into your settings and set the backup as your startup disk and then restart the computer. It is then a case of simply verifying that it starts as it should and that all of your files are accessible. You should then remember to change the startup disk back to your primary hard drive.
Why Is It Important For Businesses?
It is important for both individuals and businesses to back up their data but particularly for businesses. This is because data loss or corruption could devastate the company in many different ways, including financial loss, which could ultimately cause the company to fail. Regular backups act as an insurance policy and can provide important peace of mind, which is particularly important in a time where cybercrime is such a threat to businesses of all sizes and in all industries. It is, of course, important to protect your devices through antivirus software and smart usage, but a complete backup is essential in case disaster were to strike.
Data backup is crucial in today’s digital age. Both people and businesses have a huge amount of important information on their computers, but having just one copy of these files is risky as there are many threats to this data. While sometimes it is possible to recover a file after it is lost or corrupted, often this is not the case, but a backup will ensure that you never lose anything ever again.