This morning I read a magazine in which an article was written about home burglary. One of the remarks made by people who had experienced a home burglary was that it was terrible to happen because they lost so many private belongings. So far I completely agree! Then the remark was made: “my notebook was stolen which contained all photos and documents of my child”. That last remark made me write this article about backup. People assure their houses and belongings, paying several euro’s a month, to get some money from the insurance company in case of home burglary. Why didn’t they invest a little time and money in a decent backup?
You should invest some time and/or money to protect your data from getting lost.
Nowadays there is no valid excuse to not have a decent backup. I wrote an article about online backup using a NAS (network attached storage) a while ago and there are several other solutions available for all kinds of dataprotection.
There are several technologies available for creating a backup. I devide them in 3 categories:
- Non electronic (DVD-R, BluRay, CD Rom, Tape)
- Electronic storage (i.e.: Harddisk, USB Stick)
- Online storage
I believe everybody should have a backup on ‘non-electronic’ storage like a DVD-R or BlueRay disk. Create two backups, one to store at your home and one to store offsite at your work, a friends house or banksafe. Always keep i.e. the last 3 backups. This in case the last backup becomes unreadable. The reason I say you should have a non-electronic backup is because the risk of i.e. lightning strikes or voltage peaks ruining your equipment. When lightning strikes and hits your home power grid, it might blow up your computer and all attached electronic components like USB sticks, external harddrives, and so on. It will also destroy your DVD Drive, but you can still read your backup disks (DVD/BlueRay) at any other computer or buy a new DVD Drive for 15 euro’s.
Next you can use an external harddisk to create a second backup. Creating a backup and restoring goes much faster from an external harddisk. You might choose a backup policy where you create a DVD/BlueRay backup weekly or monthly (depending on your needs) and create a daily or weekly copy on an external harddisk. I always advice to disconnect the harddisk from the computer and powergrid after creating the backup. This reduces the risk of damage due to software problems, hardware problems and at some degree of lightning strikes. Be as creative as you like. Use multiple drives, store them at home, at your office or at a friends place. Harddrives offer a large amount of storage but as I said before, they are not the safest storage. (I.e.: You have the warranty that the drive will fail between now and someday. Someday might be within 2 weeks already.)
Online storage is fairly new for consumers and very reasonable priced. In my previous article I have online storage combined with my NAS but there are good solutions for users who don’t have a NAS. The benefit of online storage is that you have your data stored in a datacenter offsite. So nobody can physically steal your data. Secondly you can access your data from every computer with an internet connection.
There are many providers for online storage, use google! I will describe one provider because I installed it for a customer lately and I believe this is a great example for many people.
Acronis offers 250 GB of online storage for less than €50,- a year. Probably less then you pay for your insurance policy ;-).
There is a 2 Gb trial version available. Acronis Online backup software is included after registering your trial or subscribing. You can select the folders on your computer of which you want to create a backup and the software will do the rest. The initial backup will take some hours or even days to create, depending on the amount of data and your internet connection speed. After that it will only backup the modified data so a backup will be made much quicker. You can connect up to 5 computers to the acronis account so your desktop and laptop should be safe. You can schedule the creation of the backup so you won’t forget it!
Restoring can be done using the online backup software or downloading the files using your internet browser.
As said, there are many providers offering online backup. Prices differ significantly so check it out carefully. Check storage size, number of computers and functionality.
updated 2015: Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive, Flickr, Copy and iCloud offer a lot of online storage. They offer seamless integration with your system and you will have you data available in the ‘cloud’. Some of them include a history function too. When you delete a file by accident, you can get it back.
From now on.. nobody has an excuse to not have a backup !!