Technology

Do I need to back up my data?

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We all know that prevention is better than cure, but often it’s only after disaster strikes that we realize just how much we depend on something. The files, documents and programs on your PC, tablet or phone are a prime example of this. And while it may not be a major catastrophe if your laptop gets stolen, many of us know the pain of having to redo work you already spent ages on! And in the case of businesses, loss of data can mean the undoing of months of work or the irretrievable loss of crucial client information, potentially spelling disaster for the company’s viability. Here’s why backing up your data is so important in several different scenarios, what steps you can take to prevent it, and what you can do if it does all go horribly wrong!

As an individual:

Whether it’s a particularly nasty virus, theft, or just simple human error that causes loss of your personal files, it’s never a pleasant experience. Many people fail to do backups because they expect it to be a long and tedious process – but in the case of personal data and files, it really doesn’t have to be.

The reason that many people are discouraged from performing backups is that they’ve previously tried to back up everything, and needless to say this can take a long time. But for your personal files, this really isn’t necessary. You don’t need to back up your entire operating system if you have the original installation CD or know that you can download it from the manufacturer. The important things are the files you’ve been working on recently, and anything you haven’t stored in the cloud.

Cloud storage is excellent for things like photos, old documents, eBooks or PDFs that you may want to consult at a later stage. Most email programs also have a built-in backup feature, so use those first before you try and export them yourself. Using a flash drive, external hard drive, or a cloud storage facility are all good options. Ideally, of course, you want to use a combination of physical backup and cloud storage so you’re covered no matter what.

As a company:

In an increasingly online world, loss of data can be crippling for a business. It goes without saying that the more serious the potential loss of data becomes, the more time and money you should invest in keeping it safe. For small businesses, a daily backup to an external hard drive may suffice – but you run the risk of that drive getting lost, damaged, stolen or simply failing over time.

Pairing your own hard backup copy with the service of a dedicated business backup solution provider where your files are saved to the cloud as well is an excellent option for small to medium businesses. Which service you choose will depend on how many employees you have, and therefore you many users’ data you need to back up. You’ll need to do a bit of shopping around to find the solution that fits your needs best. Large scale corporations may need to employ several backup methods that include redundancy and disaster recovery options, and require expert assistance.

When it all goes wrong:

While making sure data loss is as unlikely as possible is always going to be first prize, sometimes things just don’t go according to plan. If critical data has been lost, remember that there are experts who specialize in retrieving it, even when the hardware has been badly damaged through natural disaster or sabotage. For your peace of mind, always choose a provider like Data First data recovery, where there is a no recovery, no charge policy. This way you won’t end up out of pocket if it turns out the data is unrecoverable.

This is an excellent solution when hardware is starting to show obvious signs of failing, (such as unexpected shutdowns, or a hard drive that is making clicking or scraping noises) or if your operating system has become completely non-responsive. It’s also an excellent option when data on an external drive or flash drive has become corrupted.

Remember that data recovery is a finicky process which requires the correct tools, as well as a ‘clean room’ environment. If you attempt to open the drive at home, you can actually risk making data that would have been recoverable irretrievable – so leave it to the experts!

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Joel is an entrepreneur specialized in the international business development and project management. He graduated from Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business with a degree in Finance and International Business. He is currently working on decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) along with TechRar.

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