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Backup Tips

Published by in General · 2/10/2012 20:12:09

Backup Tips - Prevent data loss with a good backup strategy

A comprehensive data backup strategy is vital to your data security. Too many people wait until disaster strikes before they think about a backup. A good backup is an excellent way to protect against viruses, deteriorating hard drives, disasters and human errors. If it would not be cost effective or even possible to re-enter data, then you need a backup strategy.

Step 1: Plan for data backup

1 Think about where you keep your backup.
2 If you live in an area that can flood, don't store your backup in the basement.
3 If the storage location for your backups is protected by sprinklers, what will the water do to the backups?
4 If there is an earthquake, will you be able to get to your data. An off site copy or online backup is an excellent idea.
5 Store a full backup at another location to protect against fire, theft, or other disaster.
6 If your data is critical it may be a good idea to have a quarterly and yearly backup as well so that you can recover files that may have been deleted, but not discovered until months later.

Step 2: Begin a backup routine

1 Make backing up a part of your normal scheduled daily tasks.
2 Don't count on anyone else to back your data up for you.
3 Do backups of your own critical data.

Step 3: Tailor your backup strategy to your needs

1 To determine the best schedule for your data backup, it is important to know how often your data changes. If your data changes weekly, a daily backup might be overkill. If you have critical data that updates every hour, you may need to back up several times a day.
2 It's a good idea to have at least three different backups of your data.
3 Full backups can be supplemented by incremental backups. An incremental backup will only back up files that have changed since the last full backup, and is normally much quicker than a full backup.

For example, If you run an incremental backup at the end of each work day, it protects all your newest data if anything happens overnight, and all of the data not backed up by the incremental backup is still protected by the full backup you may run every weekend.

Step 4: Be sure to test your backup periodically

Don't simply rely on backup software to get it right 100% of the time, no matter how good you think your backup software is. To ensure that your backups are protecting you, periodically test the backup jobs by attempting to restore them to an alternate location. This will bring out any flaws or corrupt data before it is too late.
Also, most backup applications also have a "backup log" or generate a "backup report" that can quickly identify any problems or skipped files in the backup job. Be sure to review these logs every time your backups complete for anything suspicious.
Did you know?
1 Recent surveys have recently said that only about 60% of the backups companies think they have completed are usable.
2 34% of companies NEVER test their backups.
3 77% of those who have tested their backups have discovered failed backups before they were needed.

Step 5: A backup of a backup of a backup

Many people think a backup is simply moving their photos, videos, music, financial documents, or other important files off to an external hard drive or removable disk. However, simply moving data from one location to another isn't giving you any extra protection in case disaster strikes. If there aren't at least two separate copies of your data, it isn't a backup at all.

However, even though a single backup may be a good start (two copies of your irreplaceable files), there is still some risk for data loss, especially if both copies are kept in the same location. (Think about things such as fires, theft, floods - if any one of these happened, they could easily damage or destroy both copies of your data.)
For the best protection against data loss, especially from catastrophic events, having at least three copies of your data (the original files, an easily-accessible backup, and a protected copy of your backup) is recommended. While some large companies may use dedicated off-site data storage services for this, you don't have to be a big company to have three copies of your data. Even something as simple as using an inexpensive online backup service to keep a 3rd copy of your data will be sufficient.

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