Computers have been around for so long that almost everyone has a data loss story to tell — whether it's the term paper file corrupted the night before it was due or the business presentation that vanished after you tripped over the cord and cut power to the computer. These events remind us that regular data backup is not a luxury — it is essential, especially for businesses.
What Are My Options?
To find the best way to protect your documents, customer records, precious family photos or even an extensive music library, you need to answer two questions: "How often will I make copies of the data?" and "Where will I store them?"
CD-R, DVD-R, Flash Drives and External Hard Drives
One option is to manually back-up your files on physical media and store it in your home or business. This might work if you have a small number of files that need to be backed-up, but are not very sensitive.
This approach becomes difficult for full backups or very sensitive information. First, you need to find space to store all of the disks or drives. Second, in the event that your computer was destroyed in a disaster such as a flood or fire, your backup would most likely be destroyed as well.
Online Backup with Off-Site Storage
For a higher level of security, you can subscribe to an automated, online backup service that stores your files in secure data centers. Many companies offer this service for a small monthly fee.
The advantages are that the backups are automated, so you can't forget to save your data. Also, offsite storage gives you the reassurance that your backup copies won't be destroyed in a disaster along with your computer.
For information on creating a business recovery plan, read "How to Prepare a Business Recovery Plan" in the Hostway Newsletter.