Whats the best way to back up?

Want to know how to backup efficiently?

Data is one of the most important things in the world and we all abide and live by it. Whether it's logging into a machine to saving your favorite photos onto your computer. It's all data that is used or stored. The most important thing about data is wether you can have a safe mind knowing its either in the right hands or backed up in the case that it is lost. 

If you were too lose your favorite photos saved to a hard drive they're gone, that data is deleted and in most cases it cannot be recovered. This is where backups come into play and make a huge impact on the world in terms of data protection and recovery.

From a business point of view backups are something that need to be planned and set in place ready for certain circumstances that may trigger at any time. For example a natural disaster taking down a site. This is something that would need to be taken into consideration and if that site went down, there needs to be another site that can be switched to and run from incase this happens. On one side the main problem is down time and making sure people have access to that data continuously but also just the data itself being backed up, so no important data would be lost.

Unfortunately your computers hard drive could fail tomorrow, ransomeware could hold your files hostage, or a software glitch could delete files as seen in Windows 10. If you don't backup your important files regularly they could be lost forever.

I'm sure you have heard of the countless different ways to backup data but which is the right way for you? What files do you need to be backing up?

What needs backing up?

First and foremost, lets start with the obvious which is you need to back up your personal files. These need to take top priority in comparison to say your operating system and applications. This is because you can reinstall your OS and applications at any given time whereas you cannot reinstall your personal files if they are deleted and not backed up.

In terms of your personal files this should be any confidential documents, photos, home videos, and any other data on your computer. This in addition to any music, videos and files you have collated over a long amount of time.

In terms of the OS and programs you have installed these can also be backed up however, are not so much a priority. However, this could prove to make you life easier if your entire hard drive fails and you want to recover straight back to where you were. If you're someone that edits system files and likes to customize your OS then backing up would be very useful incase any mistakes lead to a corruption of files.

The different ways to back up your files!

There are many different ways to back up and each one can be used for many different scenarios. Below we discuss some of the different ways and the pros and cons of each one.

Backing up to an external drive: If you have a USB or an external hard drive you can utilize Windows built in features to back up efficiently and quickly. On Windows 10 and 8 you can use File History. On Windows 7 you can use Windows backup. Each one will give you an option to backup to an external drive and when plugging that device back into the computer in the future it can automatically begin to backup.

Pros: Backing up is free with Windows and can be automated.

Cons: If someone was to physically steal your hard drive/USB then you would not be able to recover that data back. 

Backing up using the cloud: Backing up over the internet if one of the best ways to ensure your files stay safe. Using a service such as DropBox or many other different competitors like MozyHome, allow for an application to run in the background and automatically backup when changes are made to files and folders.

Pros: Online backup protects you against any type of data loss - hard drive failure, theft and even natural disasters. 

Cons: Usually these services can cost however, you can get free versions such as DropBox but you will get a capped storage amount and will have to pay extra to get added space.

Which backup should you use?

The answer is simple and that is to use multiple methods. This is because you want an offsite and onsite backup. This way you will be covered from all aspects and be prepared for any occurrence that may happen.

Onsite literally means backups stored at the same physical location as you. For example backing up to an external hard drive at the same place where you are backing those files from.

Offsite means away from that area so as discussed using a cloud application such as Dropbox, Google Drive and many more.

Onsite backups are faster and easier and should always be your first call in creating a plan for backing up. If you lose your files you can quickly restore them at the same location. However, as previously mentioned this shouldn't be your only fallback as if someone was to steal your hard drive or a natural disaster hit your home/office then there is no way to recover that data.

Offsite backups don't have to be a server on the internet and you don't always have to pay a monthly subscription. You can backup your hard drives from one office to another. Similarly you can use Dropbox and various others to regularly backup to the cloud. This allows your files to be stored safely away from your location and will be ready in case recover is needed.

Automation

Some people may find the above methods easy to comprehend however, some may find it sounds complication but the more you automate your backup system the more chances you won't find yourself in a place without your data. 

This is why I really like Dropbox and others like Google Drive as it is an application that can sit in the background sync up with the cloud and automatically backup your files without you having to do anything.

If you don't want to pay anything this a great way to go with and they also give you the option to increase your storage in case you need to.

Conclusion

These are just a few different ways you can go about doing backups but ultimately, you need to think about where your files are and sure you have multiple copies at all times. Ideally these copies should be in multiple locations to stop the chances of you losing your data completely. As long as you have a plan and think ahead you can prepare for the worst.

Need help?

Are you struggling with performing backups? Or maybe want a plan put together? Make sure you call us on 0114 296 0035 or email info@directcomputers.co.uk and we'll be sure to help you out!