Let’s take a look at how to back up those files. Backup solutions come in two main flavors; local backups and offsite backups. Local backups could be to a CD, an external hard drive, or another computer in the same building. An offsite backup sends to data to “the cloud,” actually a server or series of servers in another part of the world. There are pros and cons for each option.
With a local backup, your data is being stored locally, which means that you control where it goes and who can access it. If your system crashes, you can go back and restore it right away. The downside is that since your backup is at your location, theft could rob you of both the original and backup, and a fire or lightning strike could take out both your main system and backup.
An offsite backup has other advantages and disadvantages. Your data is stored off site, away from your physical location, which means that if you have a robbery or fire, you can simply log in to your online account from anywhere on the planet where you have internet and get your files back. Your information is usually encrypted at the offsite location, which provides a layer of protection. The disadvantages include the unlikely possibility that someone could hack your provider’s system and access your backup, but they’d need a decryption key to be able to do so. The chances of this happening are slim. The other downside to an offsite backup is that if your backup contains a huge amount of data, it can take a long time for you download information from your provider. Some providers, however, offer the option to mail you a copy of it.
So what's the best option for you? That answer will depend on a number of factors, but for individuals, a local backup is usually sufficient and can be as simple as an automated backup to an external hard drive. You can also use an offsite solution such as Google’s Drive, Microsoft’s OneDrive (previously SkyDrive) or many others. Some of these options are free, others are fee-based.
For businesses we recommend a layered approach; that is both onsite and offsite solutions. Onsite will give you fast and easy access to your data in emergencies while an offsite solution will provide extra redundancy and accessibility.
While doing a backup can be as simple as using Windows’ Copy and Paste feature to transfer files to an external hard drive, backup software provides a more robust and customizable solution. Contact Yellowstone Computing today to discuss your backup needs and find a solution that’s right for you!
If you are already the unfortunate owner of a failed hard drive, there are recovery solutions. If you want your data back, contact us to discuss your options for recovery.
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