By Ben Geisler-owner of Kadimac Corp
It is the call I dread getting. The phone rings and the person on the other end explain that they can’t get to the data on their computer. Ugh, that is not a good thing. You might think that as a computer professional I see this as a sales opportunity, but honestly it is the last thing I want to have to deal with. The results are often bad with the data gone forever or coming at an extremely high cost to recover. This isn’t pleasant for anyone, but with a modicum of effort, we can avoid the disaster all together.
The trick to keeping your data safe is backing it up. But, we need to know what a backup is and what it isn’t. Moving your documents from your laptop hard drive to your external hard drive is not a backup if there is only one copy. I would even argue that having to manually make the copy isn’t really a backup either. What we really need is an automated process that makes a copy of your data and moves it someplace safe. The good news is that there are built-in tools in both OS X and Windows to do this for you. Check out Time Machine in OS X and Windows Backup in Windows for simple, free, no excuses back ups. I suggest using a good external hard drive as the backup location and change them once a year, putting the old one on the shelf as a type of archive.
We aren’t done yet; you have one more task and that is to set up cloud backups. This will back up your selected data to a secure server separate from your computer. This is important because it gives you two places to recover data from, both local (fast) and remote (slow). The remote is very useful if something happens to both the computer and backup disk drive such as a flood, fire or theft. Most cloud backup companies will even copy all of your data to a new hard drive and send it to you. The service is inexpensive and gives you two layers of protection.
These backup suggestions are aimed at personal computers and not so much servers, but the ideas are the same; multiple levels of backup and diverse back up locations. Servers have their own concerns in terms of backups that go beyond this article.
Ben Greisler is the owner of Kadimac Corp, a computer consulting firm specializing in helping companies access their data securely from any place on any device. Look him up on Amazon and then visit www.kadimac.com