Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Backup Basics

The consequences of not having a sound backup strategy can be staggering. A small business could go bankrupt with the loss of critical data. An individual may lose irreplaceable items like digital photo’s or email from loved ones. Most people know that they have to backup their computers but many do a very poor job of executing a backup strategy. Here are some rules to follow to make the backup process effective and easy.

Rule #1 – The most likely event to occur is the loss of the hard drive.

When you lose a hard drive you need to be able to rebuild it from scratch; install Windows, Office, Photoshop, etc. When you get your new computer the very first thing you need to do is put the recovery disks in a safe place. Some computer manufacturers no longer provide recovery disks so you have to make them yourself or purchase a set from the manufacturer. I prefer to purchase a set – that way I know that I didn’t screw something up making the disks. As you buy and install other software put the install disks with the recovery disks. It’s also a good idea to keep any serial numbers or keys with the disks.

Rule #2 – Your backups have to be stored in a different building from where the computer is.

If you backup your data to a device, external hard drive, CD’s or DVD’s, or to a USB flash drive and store them in the same structure as the computer you risk losing both to fire, flood or some other disaster.

Rule #3 – The backup process has to run automatically.

It never fails – the one day you forget to backup is the day that disaster strikes. Don’t rely on your memory; use a product that runs automatically.


Complying with the first rule is easy and most people do a good job of keeping their hard disk recovery material in one place – or at least in one room.

Most small business and individuals fail to fully comply with Rules #2 and #3. The simplest way to comply is to use an internet backup service. Your computer is backed up automatically every day and the information is stored in a secure data center which in turn is backed up. I use Mozy, www.mozy.com. It runs every day automatically and all of your data is encrypted. They offer several packages starting with a free home user offering that allows you to backup up to 2GB’s. For $4.95 a month you get unlimited backup. They also have several packages for businesses.

If you need help please see the contact page on my website.


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