Data backup

A data backup is a copy of computer data taken and stored elsewhere (data storage) so that it may be used to restore the original data. The backup is a result of copying or archiving files and folders.

Data loss can be caused by many factors ranging from computer viruses to hardware failures to file corruption to fire, flood, or theft (etc). In case of business data, a loss may involve critical financial, customer and company data. If the data is on a personal computer, you could lose financial data and other key files, pictures, music, etc that would be hard to replace.

What is the importance of a data backup?

The main reason for a data backup is to have a secure archive of your important information, whether that’s classified documents for your business or treasured photos of your family, so that you can restore your device quickly and seamlessly in the event of data loss. Data loss isn’t always the result of cyber threats. It can also be the case that your external hard drive or computer wear out and you lose your data. That’s just the nature of any piece of hardware, and backing up your data can help you restore it on a new device.
Still, 30 percent of people have never backed up their data.

What data should I back up?

As a baseline, you should back up anything that can’t be replaced if it’s lost:

  • Address books
  • Pictures
  • Videos
  • Music files
  • Documents
  • Spreadsheets
  • Financial databases

For businesses, data backups become a bit more technical — backing up customer databases, configuration files, operating systems and registry files — and there’s typically an IT department in place to manage them.

The most common data and storage backup solutions

1. Removable Media: The smallest storage
Removable media generally refers to small portable devices that are mostly used to transfer files from device to device. This includes CDs, DVDs, and USB flash drives, that are compatible with laptops and desktops. Unlike other backup storage options, removable media does not come with a large storage capacity (usually up to 256 GB) and does not have additional security features should your drive be lost or stolen.

2. External hard drives: Ample storage
An external hard drive is connected to the computer or laptop on the outside via cables or wirelessly. Examples of external hard drives can include USB flash drives and solid-state drives, also known as SSDs. Like removable media, external hard drives are portable and easy to use, but they’re capable of storing larger files — anywhere from 128 GB to 10 TB. They are most compatible with computers and laptops.

3. Cloud backup: Flexible storage
Cloud backups (“the cloud”) allows users to back up their data to hardware that’s in a remote location. Users can access and manage their data anytime on any device via the internet.
Most cloud storage services provide a large amount of storage space — by some counts, infinite amounts — and encrypt the content for data security. Some common cloud storage solutions you probably already use include iCloud, Google Drive, or Dropbox, all of which are compatible with cell phones, tablets, desktop computers, and laptops.

4. Backup services: The most storage
If you have a trove of important data and treasured files, the best option for you can be a professional company to help with your data backup by hiring a backup service.
This method of data backup is similar to that of a backup administrator in a business, meaning you’re putting a person or service in charge of your data backups because they have access to robust backup softwares, hardware appliances, or even hybrid data backup solutions. Most backup services offer encryption and like the cloud, you can consider the storage options for this unlimited.