Updated: Jan 26
In today's world we deal with so much data on a day to day basis. Do you ever think about how to protect all this precious data? Some of us are technologically savvy and have certain protections in place. Some of us think about it from time to time but never try to act on it until it’s too late. Finally, there are the people that this never even crosses their minds until they experience a loss. It’s so easy to get caught up in our day to day lives and forget or just not think about making sure to protect your data. Precious Pictures, Important documents, Special program, can all be backed up with ease.
I promise you by the end of this in-depth article I will have provided you with some different ways to back up your data and given the pros and cons of each method! Peace of mind is just a few minutes away!
I’m always telling people not only to back up their data but make sure they know how to use that backup to restore their data. What good is a backup to you if you don’t know how to retrieve your data from it? I just had a friend I’ve been knowing for a few years. Every now and again I would tell them hay we need to get together and get that backup strategy going! I would always get a response like yea were going to get to it, or next month were just to busy to deal with that right now! Months started to pass. Months turned into years. Buy this point were about 5 years in and business had picked up they were doing more business then they have ever been. Suddenly one day I get a call “you have to help us our main drive crashed”! I spent days trying my best to help this friend out, but it was to no avail! I couldn’t recover their data. I even recommended another company that specializes in data recovery and even they were unsuccessful at recovering the data. Years of information gone in an instant! I felt so bad for them! All I could do for them now is put in place a system that would never allow this to happen to them again!
One, Two, Or Three Phase backup systems, which is best for you?
1. Phase 1 Internal Backup
This can be accomplished by setting up multiple Hard Drives that duplicate the data in your PC. This method would also be known as a RAID. In the case of a HDD failure you would not loose your data because you would have a secondary drive with all the information of your primary drive.
i. What is a Raid?
iv. For this discussion we are going to talk about the simplest form of a RAID which is commonly referred to as Raid 1 or mirroring. For Mirroring to take place you need to have at least 2 HDD of the same capacity.
2. Phase 2 External Backup
There are Multiple External Backup methods and well list a few here.
ii. External Array of drives or Network Attached Storage (NAS) Drives
iii. File Server
iv. Note: USB Drive, Thumb Drive, Flash Drive can store files externally but are typically too small in capacity to hold the amount of data we are talking about backing up in these backup systems.
3. Phase 3 Cloud or Off-Site Backup
Cloud based backup systems are used to backup data off site.
Pros & Cons
Phase One Pros & Cons
1. Phase one can be accomplished at an inexpensive cost! Depending if you are using regular hard disk drives or solid-state drives. All you need is another drive of the same size. IF you had a 2 TB drive and you want to purchase another one it would roughly cost you $50.00 - $70.00 USD. And a little bit of time and know how to configure it.
Example Link: https://goo.gl/DDz8DS
2. Data is duplicated automatically
3. OS, Programs, & Data are backed up.
1. Phase one cons is that if you are not a techy person this can be a little bit overwhelming to accomplish. You have to know how to install a Hard Disk Drive into your PC. Then you have to learn how to configure a Raid 1. Which plenty of videos can be found on this topic via YouTube. The quest should be posed as “How do I configure raid 1?”.
2. This secondary drive will be installed into your PC can not be moved unless you move the whole PC.
Phase Two Pros & Cons
1. Phase two can also be really inexpensive! You just to purchase a drive the same size or bigger than your internal drive or raid that you want to back up.
Example Link: https://goo.gl/sHa1SX
2. This drive can be picked up and packed away at a whim! Very small very portable.
3. Faster to recover your data than phase 3
4. If configured correctly can currently protect you from a crypto virus attack!
1. These drives are fragile. They are not made to be dropped or knocked over. Over the years of being a computer technician I have seen countless accidents where people have dropped or knocked these over. If that happens the data on the drive can become corrupt and unrecoverable. These drives should be handled with care!
2. Not all external backup data automatically!
Phase 3 Pros & Cons
1. This back up is an automatic process.
2. This backup is hosted off site meaning God forbid a fire, flood, tornado, any act of god…, even theft your data can still be recovered!
1. Depending on how much data you have backed up and your internet connection the backup recovery process can be a bit long. IF you have slow internet and a lot of data it can take days to download all of your data.
Of course, you could choose to mix and match anyone of these backup methods but to get total coverage it would be great to have all 3 of these backup methods implemented. The Phase 1 backup will protect you against your single HDD Crashing. Phase 2 will take things a step further by giving you an external backup to your system, if say you had a surge and the whole PC with both drive got fried. Which reminds me here is a quick ( pro tip: all electronics should be plugged into a surge protector or my favorite uninterruptible power supply - UPS.) Phase 3 backup will protect you from Fire, Flood, Tornados, Acts of God Etc.…, and theft. There’s nothing we can do about Act’s of God or if someone were to break in your home and take all of our equipment. Although your PC and your external backup would be gone you would still be able to recover all of your important data.