Foundations Part 3 : Data Backup

Foundations of Computer Maintenance

There are countless computer issues that can wreak havoc at a moment’s notice. What I have learned over the years is that many of these issues can be traced back to only a handful of causes and totally prevented in most cases.

I will refer to these core solutions as the Foundations of Computer Maintenance. Immediately putting these Foundations into place will solve or completely prevent computer disasters. These Foundations are Power, Security and Data Backup.

In this 3 part series I will detail each of the Foundations and outline a good, better and best method that any user can implement to avoid common computer problems.

Part 3: Data Backup

In Part 2 of this series we covered Security (read here if you missed it). In this section we’ll cover data backup and give you some alternatives you can implement right away.

Don’t Put All Your Eggs In One Basket

Data is the most valuable thing on your computer and other devices and you most likely have multiple computers with valuable data. This data can become quite difficult to manage let alone keep an up to date copy of your most important stuff. The true essence of data backup is having at least one copy of your data in a safe place. Ideally you’d have more than one copy and not keep all your data in one basket so to speak.

The goal of this article is to give you some options to start backing up your data right away. Some of these options are very simple and others require a small bit of technical know how.

There are so many ways to actually backup your data. That is the main reason it has taken me so long to put this article together. I help people and businesses solve technology issues everyday yet it is difficult to layout an easy to follow data backup and disaster recovery plan. With so many factors to take into consideration it’s impossible to craft a one size fits all solution.

These factors include:

  1. Scheduling – Automatic Backups (set it and forget it!)
    Your backup plan should have the ability to backup constantly, hourly, daily, etc.
  2. VSS – Volume Shadow Copy Service
    The backup program should be able to backup important files that are currently open. Ex. Quickbooks company file is open, but should still be backed up.
  3. Versioning
    The backup program should retain multiple versions of your data. Very helpful in the event of a devastating virus like Cryptolocker variants.
  4. Local (On Site) Backup
    Backing up to a drive attached to the computer like a USB flash drive or an external hard drive.
  5. Cloud (Off Site) Backup
    Backing up to data server maintained by another company. Ex. Dropbox, Amazon, Carbonite, iDrive, Google Drive, etc.
  6. Restore Features
    Ease of finding your data that has been backed up and restoring that data. Either from a local or “cloud” source.
  7. Ease of Use
    Easy to setup and generally problem free backups.
  8. Mobile Access
    Many companies now have great apps to access and even share the data in your “cloud” account.
  9. Multi-User / Multi-Device
    Allowing multiple people to backup multiple devices in a single account.
  10. Security
    Many people think that because their data is in the cloud that anyone can see / steal it. Every major company allows high level data encryption so your backups are protected. The data can only be un-encrypted by the password you set when you are doing a data restore.
  11. Speed
    Backing up to the cloud can be slow, especially when doing the initial backup. It’s basically uploading all your data to the server so if you have slow internet it will take much longer. Some backup programs like iDrive have bandwidth throttling so you can backup your data without slowing down your internet connection to a crawl.

Solutions

As you can see from the list above there are many options to consider when deciding on the best way to backup your data. Decide what’s important for you and your backup needs from this list and use it to evaluate the many options that are out there.

Or you can just implement one of the options I’ve put together for you below.

Good
DropboxData Backup with Dropbox - Your Computer Guy – A fantastic and easy to use application that you can put on PC’s, Mac’s, Tablets and Phones. It will definitely backup your data in near realtime (automagically), but it also ‘syncs’ your data. One of the most useful features is when you take pictures on your phone it will automatically save them and sync them to your Dropbox folder on your PC or Mac. Read More or Get Dropbox Here

Better
iDriveIDrive Remote Backup – A very cheap (less than $50/year) yet powerful backup that gives you 1TB (1000 GB) of cloud storage. iDrive has many features included that other companies charge extra for. It actually covers all the options listed above including a true hybrid backup to local and cloud. It’s easy to use, allows multiple users / devices, mobile access, versioning, etc. It also allows you to backup your external hard drives! Most major cloud providers charge extra fees to do this.
Investigate or Sign Up for iDrive here

Best
CloudBacko + Amazon AWSData Backup with CloudBacko - Your Computer Guy – This is a very powerful combination, however, it’s not very easy to setup. Amazon AWS is a very powerful and super inexpensive cloud platform with over 800 services. Data storage is one of them and CloudBacko can be configured to backup your data to your Amazon AWS account.Data Backup with AWS - Your Computer Guy This requires some configuration, but once setup it’s very powerful. It also performs the backup operation very fast.

CloudBacko can also be setup to backup your data to a local hard drive, network hard drive and other cloud providers. And, as of the time of writing this, there is no monthly fee or annual fee. It’s a one time fee of $9 or $39 for the business ‘PRO’ version.

I highly recommend this option for businesses. If you are technically savy or love figuring out techy things then this is the option for you.

Checkout CloudBacko Here

Read More about Amazon AWS S3 here

Learn about Amazon AWS Glacier

If we have learned anything today hopefully it’s that to have a real data backup your data should be in more than one place and that there are many ways to do this. Let me know if you have any questions or if you need help implementing a data backup solution that works for best for you.

Do you currently have a backup plan? If not, what’s the most important factor to you when considering a backup plan?

4 Comments

  1. I have read all three of your articles pertaining to Power, Security, and Data Backup. They are all well researched, easy to understand, and provide valuable information to the non-professional computer user.

    Thank you for taking the time to write these articles and provide them to your customers!

    Al Ablowich

  2. Excellent…and much-needed…information, David. Thanks! Am considering the “Better” alternative. Does it handle thousands of photos, as well as the usual documents, programs, etc? (Know you’re familiar with what’s on my coputer.) I’ll be dealing with only one PC and possible a laptop – don’t need a lot of bells and whistles. Also, if the annual cost goes up dramatically after the first year, can the data be switched to a different back-up system?

    • It is highly unlikely the annual cost will go up dramatically. Will most likely stay the same or even lower a bit. You can’t really move the data that is already on iDrive cloud. Remember, the data should be in at least 2 places so you if you switch down the road you can simply “re-backup” your data to another cloud account. Hope this helps Verna!

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