Losing all your important data can send your stress levels off the charts. Fortunately, implementing the right backup plan can turn a catastrophic loss to a mere inconvenience.
I often compare backing up your computer system to doing preventative maintenance on your home’s plumbing: It might not be something you think about very often, but you had better find time to do it. Otherwise, you will regret it for sure
Of course, some people and businesses go for years without backing up their files. But here’s something you should understand:
A malfunctioning hard drive is just one possible source of data destruction. Careless users, viruses and malware, fires, theft, and other disruptive disasters can happen at any time. Wouldn’t you rather save yourself the panic and backup your data?
The good news is that (much like with plumbing) you don’t have to do any of this yourself if you don’t want to. You can call TECHSPERTS at any time and we’ll help you figure out a managed IT plan that takes care of it for you. But even so, we’d rather you be an informed consumer.
First of all, know that there are many types of backup; the one that works for you may not work for your neighbor. For example, I know several freelancers who can and do back up their work files on a USB drive. This is not recommended for most businesses, as USB drives don’t pack that much storage. But if you’re self-employed, hey, it’s a start
Another thing to recognize is that you must have more than one backup. In the case of my freewheeling freelancers, they use services like Dropbox and Google Drive to store additional copies of important files. Again, this probably would work only for the smallest of businesses, and you’d have to upload the files yourself. But it’s cheap, and it’s a lot better than nothing. (We’ll get to that in a minute.)
Thirdly, there are a couple different ways to back up. You can do an image backup, which basically takes a picture of a computer at a point in time and recreates it. This takes quite a lot of storage space, but it can restore things to exactly as they were pre-crash. Or you can do a file backup, which simply preserves your files. If your computer crashes, your system settings will be lost, but your data will be okay.
Essentially, all file backups do the same thing: save your files and any changes you have made to them. You can set most backup systems to automatically save data every day or hour.
Aside from a USB drive, there are five ways you can back up your system:
There’s one more thing to know about backing up your data: one source is never enough. It’s common for companies to store files copies on a local hard drive, on an onsite backup device, and in the Cloud.
If you’re thinking “This sounds like a lot of work”, you’re right - but just as far as the initial setup. After that, most backup programs and services can pretty much do their thing on autopilot.
Having said that, it’s critical to copy your business-critical documents and store them in a safe place. Right now, if all you can manage is to upload them to the Cloud, do it. Spend $50 or $100 on an external hard drive. Commit to updating these files weekly or daily. And put the creation and implementation of a proper backup plan on your “To Do - Important” list.