Computer backup: Start Backing Up Your Data

It can happen to anyone (and usually does at some point).  Your hard drive fails or a virus locks up your computer – rendering it useless.  All of your documents and pictures you’ve stored for years are suddenly gone.  Unfortunately, most people don’t think about a computer backup until a crash happens.

You can reinstall the operating system and your programs. However, all of your personal data cannot be replaced.  There is a good chance all of that could be lost forever.  There are a few methods to recover lost data, but it can get very pricey and time consuming.  Sometimes data is only partially recoverable, and leaving your personal files up to luck is not something you’d want to risk.

Data loss can be particularly challenging for businesses.  How long can your business survive without one of the computers used on a daily basis? It can take days to repair and recover the data, sometimes weeks.  However, if you have a good backup and disaster recovery plan in place, you could be up and running in a matter of a few hours.

There are many different options for backing up your data. Some experts will say one is not enough.  You can have several computer backups if you want, it really just depends on how important your data is to you. Let’s go over a few different types of backups and why you might want to choose them.

Types of Backups

 

External

In order to use this backup method, you would need to purchase an external device. Luckily, they aren’t too expensive. Depending on the size of your files you could use something as small as a flash drive (although we recommend using a hard drive).  This method also allows you to use the computer backup tools built into both Windows and Mac.  Once you set it up, all you need to do is plug the drive in.  Your data will be set to automatically backup each time the hard drive is plugged in.  This method is relatively cheap and definitely a bit faster than a few other options.  One down side to this method is that many times you will keep your external drive right next to your computer.  In the case of a natural disaster you could just as easily lose the external drive as the computer itself.  If you had extremely important documents you could store them on an external drive and place them somewhere safe such as a bank deposit box.

 

Cloud Backup

There are many companies offering backups over the internet.  This can be very useful because several copies of your files are stored on a server somewhere else and will generally be safe.  If your current hard drive crashes you can always log in and find your latest files just as they were before the crash.  There are a few downsides to this method however.  Most of these, if not all, cost a monthly fee.  If you need to restore any of your files, this method can be very slow to restore them also.  Lastly, this method tends to use a lot of a computer’s resources.  We have seen online computer backup programs make computers move at a snail’s pace.

 

Cloud File Hosting

The last method we’ll discuss is cloud file hosting.  This is slightly different than cloud backups because on cloud file hosting you only have one copy of your files.  Whereas, on internet backups you will have several copies of each file from earlier dates.  Cloud storage will sync with the files on your computer still, however when you delete the file from your computer it will be deleted from cloud storage as well.  This method is still very convenient.  You can use programs such as Microsoft OneDrive, Google Drive and Drobox.  It will sync files to your account and can be accessed from all of your different devices. A downside to this method is that you may need to pay a one-time fee to increase the amount of storage available to you. However, if you don’t have that many files you need to store many services offer a few gigabytes of free storage.

Summary

Any one of these options are better than not backing up at all.  Many tech companies (such as Elkhorn Computer ?) offer cloud managed backups as well.  We can set up your computer backup and manage them for you too!

You pay for insurance on your car, home, and health. Consider a backup like insurance for your important files. Hard drive replacements can cost you time and money.  Many businesses are crippled without their computers as well.  This is definitely one of the cases where it’s better to be safe than sorry.