The importance of backing up can not be stressed enough and lot of people don’t realize this until its too late. Considering how often hard drives fail, data back-up is crucially important for anything that can’t be afford to be lost. Sometimes failing hard drives are recoverable, but often data is completely lost.
There are different types of data back-up. System back-ups include every last file on your computer, including documents, movies, system files and programs themselves. However, there are a few downsides to this type. To restore a system image to a different computer than the one the image was created from, special software is required. The hardware differences between the old and new computer can make the restore corrupt, or not function properly. Also, generally single files are not accessible in an image back-up.
Another type of data back-up is called incremental. Incremental data back-up only backs-up whatever files or folder the user choses. This works best with documents, music and photos but doesn’t work with programs or system files.
Backups come in various types of media, and depending on needs, each option has its advantages and drawbacks.
External hard drives are becoming more common today, and external hard drives as large as 4 TB run less than $150. Their sizes have shrunk, too, with options as small as a wallet. With USB 3.0, data transfer speeds reach 4 Gbit/s (and recently developed “Superspeed” USB 3.1 at 10 Gbit/s). This makes external hard drives a sensible choice for storing and retrieving data or for image backups. Although if the data needs to be constantly accessed, the external hard drive must always physically be with the user. The external hard drive is also susceptible to hard drive failure (depending on use, although they have longer lifespans than internal hard drives) and to any physical damage.
|+ high space at low costs||– external hard drives can fail|
|+ portable||– vulnerable to physical damage|
|+ fast||– must be connected to a computer to be used|
|+ data is accessible|
Optical media covers CDs, DVDs and Blu-ray discs and has come a long way in the last 20 years. CDs can hold only 700MB of data, where DVDs are between 4.7 GB to 9.4 GB (there also exists a DVD supporting 17 GB, however they are not common). Blu-ray discs range from 25 GB to 128 GB. These options work great for media files, but for system image files it will take a lot of time and discs depending on the amount of data the user plans on backing up. For system images, optical media is not recommended.
Cloud storage has become a lot more affordable and accessible for home users in the last few years and there are different options available for different needs. Some cloud storage providers allow you to simply chose the folders you would like backed up, generally document or media folders (Google drive, Dropbox are both examples). Other cloud storage solutions, such as Carbonite, allow full system backup. A user just downloads and installs software from the provider, sets it up, and is done. The back-ups run as long as the user is connected to the internet. While there are a handful of free cloud storage providers, they do not offer a lot of space for free and the costs are on a subscription basis. Security is also a concern, as it is wholey dependent on the company providing the services.
Remembering to back up your data can save you a lot of headache. With today’s technology, there are options that can fit anyone’s needs, from family photos to (fairly large) company accounting files.
Not sure which backup best suits your needs? Feel free to drop by one of our stores for a consultation! Our techs will find the perfect set up for you or your small business.
|+ very cost efficient||– not practical for data being constantly changed or system images|
|+ great for archiving||– longevity is dependent on proper care|
|+ physical media has a lifespan of at least 20 years||– more space is considerably more expensive than external hard drives|
|– time consuming|
|+ has become more affordable||– security is dependent on provider|
|+ access anywhere||– internet connection required|
|+ nothing physical to keep track of||– backing up can is dependent on speed|
|+ file sharing||– subscription or ongoing costs for some services.|
|+ set and forget|