Data backups should be a vital element in an organization’s IT strategy. It protects against the accidental or intentional loss of data which can cause down time and lowered productivity. Backups are made by copying important data from one device to another. If the data in the first device is lost, it could be restored from the backup copy.
Types of Backup Methods
Onsite backups copy data to a device located at the same physical location as the original data. There are several benefits to onsite backups. Access to the data is fast because it is close. Low cost media can be used. The main downside is if there is a disaster at your location that destroys both the original and backup copies, the data could be lost forever.
Remote backups copy data to a different physical site. The data can be copied over a network location to a secondary storage device. The secondary location could be a site you have physical access to, like another business location. Remote backups can be made to cloud storage also. Backups can be made locally, and the backup copy is physically moved to a remote location by a person. If the data at the main location is lost, it could be restored from the remote back up. Remote backups are good because if there is a disaster at your main site, the data is safe at the remote location. Restoring data from a remote back up can take a long time if the internet connection is slow. They can be costlier depending on the type of storage used, like cloud-based storage.
Data can be backed up to a variety of mediums. The most common is a hard drive. These can connect directly to a computer or over a network. CDs, DVDs, and tapes can be used also. Disc and tape backups are less popular than in the past. For small amounts of data, USB sticks can be used.
Backing up to the cloud has become more popular recently. Your data is copied over a network connection to server hosted in a remote data center. The provider of the server takes responsibility for the upkeep of the data at the remote location. You do not need to worry about the hard drive or the network connection. Cloud based storage is normally more expensive than other storage options.
Other Backup Considerations
Frequency of backups
How often data is backed up is important also. If data is only backed up once a day, changes or new files may be lost if a hard drive crashes before the data is backed up. Backing up data too often can cause issues also. The network connection can be overloaded with back up data. The backup device may slow down if it is receiving too many backup requests at one time. The risk of losing data needs to be weighed against the potential of system slowdowns.
File level vs image backups
When we think of backups, we normally think of a Word or Excel document on our computer. If your computer hard drive crashed, your files have been saved, but the operating system and programs need to be re-installed which can take a long time. All computer settings are lost also. An image can be taken of an entire computer, which it like taking of photograph of your computer at a point in time. Imaging software copies a computer, bit by bit, to a backup location. The image can be used to restore the entire computer using the image file. The restore takes a lot less time that re-installing all the programs. All the programs settings, Wi-Fi connections, and user settings are restored. Image backups take more space that file backups because all the files on computer are backed up, not just ones that you decide to back up.
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