Although we mention how important it is to back up your computer(s) in many articles, we haven’t written an article dedicated to backups since 2009. So it’s high time we did!
Unless you store everything in the cloud, or don’t store anything on your computer, you should have an automated backup of some kind. Most people intend to back up, but few ever actually do it. And those that do it, often don’t do it correctly. Businesses, no matter how small, should have backups as well. If not, you are risking your business.
Why Should I Back Up?
Hard drive failure, Malware, theft, fire, flood, and human error are just a few reasons you should back up your computer. If any of these things happen, the data stored on your computer could be lost without a backup in place. We have many stories we could tell you about how people, and businesses, didn’t have backups and lost their data, or had to pay sky-high data recovery rates to get their data back. Just to be clear, data is anything stored on your computer. For the average home user, it can include pictures, documents, music, videos, scans, email, contacts, and more. And for businesses, it’s any data used to run your business.
For home users, the biggest reasons to have a good backup is hard drive failure, malware, and theft. If your hard drive fails, we may or may not be able to recover your data. If we can’t, we can submit your drive to our data recovery partner who may be able to recover it, but they are expensive with prices starting at $500 and going up from there depending on the size of the drive and the amount of data and what they have to do to recover the data.
We told you before about RansomWare which is a computer infection that encrypts your files and holds them for ransom. If that happens to you, the only way to get them back is to restore them from backup or pay the ransom.
And if your computer is stolen, your data goes with it unless you have a good backup.
Businesses have even more reasons to back up. Like home users, they are vulnerable to hard drive failure, malware, and theft. But more than that, they are also vulnerable disgruntled employees. Unlike a home user, if a business experiences data loss, it can cause a rather large loss in profit and customers and can even doom a business to failure.
How Should I Back Up?
There are many different types of backups and backup strategies. But you don’t have to worry about understanding them all because you have us to help you. Here are our recommendations:
For the average home user, we recommend a cloud backup service. We generally recommend Carbonite, unless you have have a huge amount of data, in which case we recommend CrashPlan. These services are $60/year for each computer.
Small Business With No Server
We recommend a combination strategy that includes an image backup in conjunction with a Cloud backup.
Small Business With Server
When we say server in this context, it doesn’t have to be a server computer running the server version of Windows. In this context, it refers to any computer that acts as a server. It could act as a file server and/or an application server. If your server is critical to the operation of your business, then we recommend having RAID 1 mirroring on your server. If your business can get along with your server for a day or two, then we recommend setting up automated image backups on your server. And for all servers, we also recommend using CrashPlan Pro to backup to the cloud for disaster recovery. In addition, all workstations should store data only on the server and not on the workstations themselves. If this is not possible, then each workstation with important data should be set up to back up to the server each night. That way, their data can then be backed up as part of the server backup.