Byte Me Article 336 – Data Backup 2

16th September 2017

Backup Device Protects Data

Carrying on from last weeks’ article about backup systems, this week we look at what is a good backup system.  So firstly how often do you need to back up?  This will vary from customer to customer and it will depend on how much they are changing their data and how often.

If you run an accounting package or point of sale package then you are normally recording important information every working day.  If this is the case then you will need a backup system that runs every day.  If you are a home user and only care about photos then you should run a backup every time you download a heap of new photos to your PC.  This can be as infrequent as every two months.

Next we need to look at what device we should backup to and amongst these devices we need to mention services such as cloud storage.  If you have a good Internet connection and plenty of monthly quota you can look into the free or the paid for cloud storage services such as those offered by Google or Dropbox.

Storage in the cloud will however, not be for everyone as you are trusting your most important data with someone that you will never meet and they could reside on the other side of the world regardless of what they say in their flash advertising campaigns.  If you don’t possess this sort of blinded trust then data backup onto a device that you own will be the best bet.

USB based thumb drives (memory sticks) or USB based hard drives are a simple and cost effective backup storage medium.  Both have their relative strengths but again none are perfect and despite being marketed as ‘backup devices’ they are not infallible.  A special note should be made here as far as the use of any backup system.

Do not remove your important files from your PC and put them onto a backup device.  The idea is to keep these files on your PC and put a copy on the backup device.  If you don’t have enough room to keep them on the PC then you will need 2 backup devices and you should treat one as the master and the other as the slave.

The idea it to always have two separate copies of your data and to this extent you also need to keep them in separate places.  Again we see too often a backup drive always left plugged into a PC which means that if you have a burglar I can guarantee that they will take both and alternatively if you get the cryptolocker virus it will also wipe both copies out.

So you have important files on your PC and now you have a copy of these on an external hard drive that you keep hidden in a bedroom drawer – how do you keep this backup copy up-to-date?  There are many backup programs sold for free with backup drives and there are also many backup software programs that you need to pay for at least once, if not every year.

For the last 15 years we have had our own backup software that we sell for $120 which lasts the life of the computer it is installed on.  This software gives you one icon on the desktop screen that you can double click on when you have plugged in a USB backup device.  This software will update your backup copy in a matter of around 10 seconds and it will also show the user that it is working properly.

Next week we will look at other backup software and at some of the other backup devices and pitfalls that occur in this important area of IT. 

Future Byte Me topics can be emailed to [email protected] and Bruce is contactable at Kerr Solutions, 205 Musgrave Street or on 49 222 400.

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