In this digital age, your data is one of your most valuable assets. If your hard disk fails, your computer or network is hacked or infected with a virus, or your files become corrupted, you are at risk of losing that huge asset. The cost in terms of time as well as money is considerable, with work having to be re-done, opportunities lost and system vulnerabilities exposed.
Peter Anderson, of IT hardware and support providers ITC Service Ltd, says “I always advise clients to take proper advice from qualified IT professionals when it comes to backing up data – on how to do it and what equipment to use. The costs in the short term far outweigh the potential costs going forward and you can’t take that seriously enough”.
It is therefore of utmost importance that organisations backup their data regularly. Here we’ll look at the main methods of backing up your data and protecting your organisation from unnecessary costs and hassle.
Internal Hard Disk
Your options here are to install a second drive into your machine, or partitioning your existing drive so part of it is used to backup. The disadvantage of the second option, is should the disk fail, your backup has gone with it. This is a very quick and easy option to set up but the disadvantages are too great to make it anything but a stop gap solution.
External Hard Disk
Whilst prone to the usual risks of hard disks – potential failure, limited lifespan – this option is a better one than internal hard disks, simply because it is stored separately to your main original data. Should your computer fail you still have access to your backed up data.
Removable Storage (USB Sticks, DVDs etc)
Perfect for small backups but due to size constraints, not practical for large scale regular backups. If you need a short term backup option, for example saving copies of files you’re currently working on, then USB sticks are a great tool.
Cloud Based Backup
The most popular and easily accessible method of file backup is using a cloud based service such as dropbox.com or drive.google.com. For a monthly fee users have GBs of storage, with files from their systems being uploaded to internet based services allowing instant access. The downside is of course the bandwidth used to upload and download the files, as well as the fact that without an internet connection access to the files is impossible.
Khaleel Sethi of Tecsenza Ltd thinks online backup is the way ahead. “The chances of an organisation not having internet access is so remote that this should be the only option they’re looking at – totally secure and there when you need it, cloud backups take away the main hassles from backing up your essential data”.
NAS (Network Attached Storage)
A high cost way of backing up which involves a physical device into which hard drives are installed and used to share and backup files across a multi-user network. This method has the advantages of a cloud based backup without the need for an internet connection, but the more systems that need backing up the higher the cost will be.