How Should You Back Up Your Data?

The Importance of Keeping a Backup

There are may ways in which you can lose data, from devices simply being damaged, getting viruses, being stolen or intentional misuse. Therefore keeping an up to date backup is highly important as it means you are able to restore your files if it comes to it.

However, the range of backup options available do not offer equal levels of security and work in very different ways. So how should you store your data?

How Best to Back Up

Unless you’ve ever had the unfortunate experience of losing data - storing multiple copies of your files may seem like overkill, however, just speak to someone who has, they’ll tell you it’s definitely worthwhile. Multiple backups are better than just one but keep them all updated regularly, with a variety of on-site, offsite, physical and cloud options to ensure your data is protected.

There is a well established 3-2-1 Backup Rule;

  • Keep 3 copies of your data,
  • Use a minimum of 2 different storage media types,
  • Keep 1 copy offsite.

    Only Back Up What You Need To

    Does everything on your machine/network need backing up? - Sometimes this could legitimately be the case, but thinking about the speed of recovering data and the cost of storage, backing up that 4 year old software installer is probably a waste of time and money.

    If your backup plan allows it, utilise Incremental backups, this only backs up the changes made on your machine rather than overwriting folders with the exact same information.

    Where Best to Back Up

    Ways to back up your data. Hard Drive, Cloud Storage, USB

    External Hard drives

    As an external hard drive is a physical device, you are in full control of where your data is being securely stored and who has access to it. However, being physical leaves them susceptible to damage, theft or loss.

    A hard drive doesn’t require an internet connection so you can backup/restore anywhere you require as long as you have the required device and cables. But this means that backups will not be automated, therefore you would need to remember to do this regularly.

    This also means that your data is fully secure from cyber attacks and ransomware. If attacked with ransomware you can simply delete all data from your system and restore from your hard drive.

    Hard drives can have an extremely high storage capacity, however this is not flexible and you would have to buy another device should you run out of space. If you are looking to use physical media it is worth considering a device with a higher capacity than your initial demand.

    Cloud Backups

    You have most likely noticed a huge increase in the use of cloud technologies for a variety of tasks, with backups being no exception. When using the cloud to backup, your data is stored on remote servers and accessed via an internet connection, meaning this is the perfect option to ensure data isn’t lost if onsite physical data is compromised or destroyed.

    You can access your information at any time and anywhere when using cloud storage, as long as you have an internet connection, which is both a blessing and a flaw. This can be really useful when working remotely however, do you really know where your data is being stored? How secure is this storage solution when it comes to cyber attacks?

    You can increase or decrease your storage capacity very easily to suit your needs and providing your solution allows it, you can set up an automated backup to schedule a backup of your data once a month or whenever suitable for you. Dropbox, Google Drive and other online storage websites are great for storing a few copies of files, but have limitations. They are not automated, have limited space, and they do not back up your entire system.

    If you have a slow internet connection (typically more noticeable during uploads), pulling or pushing data to the cloud could be a lengthy process. This is something to be particularly aware of if you potentially could be instigating a system-wide recovery.