What is a “Backup”?

A backup is a copy of your data that you can use when your computer no longer works. It is plain and simple, yet probably the most important – and most overlooked – thing you can do with your data.

Eventually, your hard drive will stop working. It is not an exaggeration to say it could happen yet today, or it could happen in 5 years. It will eventually happen. When it does, you will lose everything you have ever put in the computer – programs, documents, pictures, music – it will all be gone… UNLESS you have a backup.

The best backup plan is a DAILY backup of your data, using an external drive that can be stored outside the home or office. You should have at least 2 drives – one to store off-site, and one to keep attached to the computer for automatic backups – and to recover accidental deletions. Since they will be transported, the drives should be encrypted to prevent unauthorized access should they become lost or stolen.

Where you store the off-site copy is up to you – but make it easy. A safe deposit box is the best option, but also the most difficult to use. If your business has multiple locations or buildings, keep it in a seperate building. Take it home, take it somewhere – just make sure you’ve got a copy that would survive if your office suddently disappeared (fire, tornado, hurricane, alien attack, etc.). Of course, you’ll also be prepared for the inevitable hard drive crash.

You already have a backup program on your computer if you are running Windows 7 – Just click the start orb and type “Backup” in the search field.

USB Backups

USB backup drives are my preferred method of backing up. They easily fit in your pocket or purse, and they are not very expensive. Buy two or three and keep multiple copies, one at a remote location.

Online Backups

I’m not sold on online backups just yet. I am always concerned about who has access to the data, and the bigger the company, the more IT guys who have access to the servers – and your data. A disgruntled employee – or just a dishonest one – can do a lot of damage. Businesses have a responsibility to keep their customer information safe, and the safest place is in your hands!