Business Data Backup Solutions
Seven years of music, family photos, work documents and contacts all gone in the blink of an eye. They were there just a day ago on your computer, but now all you hear is a clicking noise and a black screen staring you in the face. The first question the tech asks you is “Sooo, do you have a backup of all your data?” This question can either be your saving grace or a swift kick in the butt. It’s something as simple as plugging in a USB drive and setting up a backup schedule that can be the difference between losing years of precious data or restoring your computer back to life after a critical hardware failure. Luckily there are many solutions available to backup your personal data fast and efficiently, regardless of what operating system you use, without having to worry about hardware malfunctions.
One of the easiest solutions I have seen comes standard in Mac OS X called Time Machine. With this program you select a drive you would like to back up to and then Time Machine does the rest. It backs up your data every hour and will keep daily, weekly, and monthly backups until the drive is full, then it overwrites your oldest backups. The only thing you need to buy is an external hard drive. These are available from any store that sells computer equipment such as Best Buy, Target, Microcenter, or online. A decent 500 GB to 1 TB hard drive is less than $100 these days.
If you’re a PC user running Windows XP/Vista/7 then there are many reliable third party backup vendors out there. One of my favorite is Cobian available at http://www.cobian.se/ or www.download.com. This free software gives you the ability to select virtually any backup source and destination, schedule backups whenever you want, create logs of what’s backed up, and also email you when it is done. All you need for this is an external hard drive or network destination where you want to store the backup files. There are other online data backup providers such as Mozy – www.mozy.com, iDrive – www.idrive.com, and Carbonite – www.carbonite.com. These companies offer a unique remote backup service that securely backs up your documents to their servers without the need to purchase external hardware. However, there is usually a low monthly or yearly fee. Regardless of which service you choose, your files will be protected from disaster.
There are other software packages such as Norton Ghost that will take a complete snapshot, or image, of your entire hard drive. This includes not just important documents, but the operating system, installed programs, and other system related files. You can use this image to restore your system back to the time that the snapshot was taken. This form of backing up isn’t as fast or easy to do as the other software packages mentioned. However, if your computer were to fail you could restore the image without having to reinstall the operating system or programs. This form of backing up isn’t necessarily done at normal intervals where you would have the most recent copy of documents, but is used instead to restore computers back to a functioning state with all software already installed. Its also a great method for restoring your computer after getting infected with viruses.
For those of you who primarily use your blackberry instead of a laptop or a desktop, there is a backup solution for that as well. The program is called Blackberry Desktop Manager. This software allows you to backup and restore all the contents of your blackberry to a file which can be restored just in case you lose or damage your blackberry. It’s available from your service provider for free or http://vzw.smithmicro.com/blackberry.
For whatever system you use there is always a need to backup your data so it’s available in case of hardware failure, loss, or disaster. The time it takes to put these procedures in place will absolutely pay of someday. Don’t assume that your hardware will last forever. It isn’t a matter of “if” it will fail; it’s a matter of “when”. Ask yourself this question: “Are my photos, documents, and music worth 30 minutes?” I would bet the answer in almost all cases is a resounding YES!