Saturday, January 30, 2010

Let's backup that data!

So, are you backing up your data? No? Why not? It's not really that hard to do and it can save you a world of misery.

Why do you need to back up your data? Well, it's because sooner or later some calamity will befall your computer and your data may be lost, corrupted, compromised, or just plain unavailable. There can be a number of reasons for this... perhaps you have a hardware failure, e.g., your hard drive dies. Maybe your operating system becomes corrupted, or your files cannot be accessed due to malware taking over your computer. Regardless of the reason, the outcome will be much happier if you have been backing up your data on a regular basis. If all else is lost, but you still have your data, it can easily be restored to a freshly formatted drive, a new hard drive, or even a new computer if it comes to that.

What's the best way to back up your data? That depends... you have to decide what method works best for you, and what suits your wallet as well.

Online Storage works well for those whose data is subject to frequent changes... you're always editing it or adding to it. Services, such as Carbonite and Mozy for example, can provide you with ample storage and automated backup and restore capability for a relatively low cost.

Network Attached Storage, or NAS, is something you may want to consider if you have multiple computers that require backing up. A NAS drive has a processor and will also have its own operating system. This device will allow all your computers to backup their data as well as share their data. It can also be set to perform automatic backups, which is a big plus.

An External Hard Drive may meet your needs if your data does not change frequently and/or you do not have the need to backup data from multiple computers. An external hard drive can simply be connected to a USB port on your computer and you can add your files to it as often as needed.

CD, DVD, or USB Flash Drive storage is adequate for smaller amounts of data. It's a simple matter to just drag and drop your files to the CD, DVD, or USB Flash Drive. This is a quick way to handle small amounts of data but isn't practical if you have gigabytes of frequently changing data.

Decide which method is the best one for you... or you may want to use a combination of methods. Whatever you decide, just make sure that it's something that's easy and convenient for you to use. The best backup media in the world will be completely useless if it's not the one that's right for you.

Remember, if you can't or won't use it, it's a poor investment.