Internet Business

Data Backup Saves a Lot of Time (Part I)

by doug on 26 May, 2009

Data backup may seem annoying.  You should do it every day.  It feels like an irritating task that can wait until tomorrow, or next week …

Ask anyone who has had a hard drive crash or accidentally deleted data, and ask them how much time it took to get that data back.

I’ve had several hard drive crashes.  In some cases, I had backups.  In these cases, the crash was trivial: buy a new hard drive, copy the data from the backup to the replacement hard drive, and pick up where I left off.

In other cases, I didn’t have a proper backup.  These cases are incredibly painful and time-consuming. Some data is lost for ever.  Some data has to be recreated.  Some data can be painstakingly reconstructed from the crashed drive or other sources.

This is no fun.

Every so often, my backup schedule lapses.  For one reason or another I get out of the habit.

But then other people’s disaster’s remind me to get back with it.

It isn’t just hard drive failure that can destroy your data.  You can be your own worst enemy.

When I need to restore data from my backup, most often it is because I have accidentally deleted a file, or made changes I wish I hadn’t.

Again, this can be painful, but with a proper backup, the problem is trivial (no problem at all).

Where to Store Backups

Backups can most easily be stored on an external hard drive that plugs into a USB port.

Such hard drives are very cheap and convenient.

I suggest a 2.5” (laptop) hard drive because they don’t cost much more than 5.25” hard drives, and are very convenient.

The other question about backup storage is where to put the physical media.

You can leave it on your desk.  This is very convenient, and increases the chances that you will do your backups every day.

On the other hand, if you have a break-in or a natural disaster, the backup won’t help you if it is right next to your computer.

The other approach is off-site backups.  In this case, you have at least two external hard drives.  One is stored off-site (at home, at work, at a friend’s place, in a safe deposit box), the other is on your desk.  Every so often (the more often, the better), trade one hard drive for the other.

This way your freshest data will be near your computer, but the off-site backup won’t be far behind.

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