How to Effectively Back Up Your Data
What to backup, and what to lose
The oldest "computer expression" is that there are two kinds of computer users, those that backup their data and those that will. Often, it takes a "data disaster" to compel otherwise responsible people to make a regular habit of backing up their data. Still, the majority of computer users do not back up their data.
According to Computer World, the annual cost to recover lost data per laptop is over $800.00 per year. This amounts to billions of dollars per year spent nationally to recover (or not recover) data that has been lost due to users not backing up their data. Critical data files are often stored on personal computers and laptops and often not subject to regular backup.
If backup is so important, then why don't most people do it?
The truth is, backing up data from your computer to CDs, memory sticks, other computers, and network hard drives is inconvenient. It takes time out of a busy day. Most backup utilities require the users attention to start, monitor, and close the process. Backup takes time from the user that can be better spent doing something else. Backup is boring, since it may disable or tie up your computer while the backup is taking place.
So what data should I back up?
The simple answer is any file that you would miss if you did not have it. This includes documents, presentations, spreadsheets, accounting data, and other data files. Also include your Favorites folder, telephone directory, appointment calendar, and tasks. It may also include pictures, music, family video, and any other data that is significant, especially if lost.
Look at all of the programs that you use regularly. Find the data files that these programs and mark these for regular backup. Often these files are not behind your MY Documents folder.
For example, if you use Quicken or QuickBooks, the important data files are saved in a folder behind the Quicken or QuickBooks program. In Microsoft Windows XP, these files could be under Documents and Settings/user/Application Data. In addition, the Application Data file may also contain important information that aids in your ability to use many of your favorite programs. If you do not know how to get to these files, consult an expert to help you determine what files to choose for regular backup.
How often should I back up?
Think of this question another way - if my hard disk crashed, or I dropped my laptop, or it got stolen at the airport, how much time will it take me to re-create the active data that I just lost? What would it cost you to lose a day's worth of data and to recreate it? How much time would it take to reconfigure your computer with the tools, configurations, short cuts, and links that you have spent years accumulating? Remember the Computer World data, the average cost per laptop for lost data is $800.00 per year. What is your billing rate? How much will it cost you to start over?
Some of us use our computers the entire day. That means that if we back up daily, then the most time that we would spend redoing the work would be less than a day's worth of time. If you are an occasional user, then you may need to backup less frequently.
Once you have made your list, then you are ready to back up. Here is my partial list of backup files that would cause me great pain if they were not backed up:
What's the Solution?
The solution is to find a backup solution that is invisible to the user and does not create a "backup event" that must be scheduled from a person's busy day. So hold this thought for the moment.
Once you have determined which files to back up regularly, you must decide where to store this data. In the early days of computing, we used to back up to floppy disks. Now, our files are huge and often too large for floppy disks. CD ROMs are popular for backup and will now hold over 750 MB of data. DVDs can also be used for backup and how many times more data than CD ROMS.
At the beginning of this article, I said that backup is inconvenient and that is why most people don't do it. Therefore lets find solutions that are convenient. Not just convenient, but invisible like an insurance policy that just works.
If you are a lone computer user and are not on a network, the best solution is to get an external hard drive that plugs into your USB port. These data storage devices are relatively cheap for the benefit that they provide. Follow this link for examples of these products: google.com/froogle?q=USB+Hard+drive. If you are using Windows XP, then you can use the Windows Synchronize utility found in XP. To use, copy all of your data to the external drive. Then install the Windows Synchronize utility to automatically keep your files up to date when you plug the external drive into your computer. When you travel with your laptop computer, leave the USB hard drive at home. Never carry it in your computer bag. If you are backing up your desktop, take the USB hard drive with you - or at least store it at a location separate from your desktop in case of fire or other disaster.
If you are on a network, such as a home or business network, set aside some backup space on a hard drive on the network or on another computer. Hard drives are cheap. If you need more space than is available, buy another hard drive and install it on another computer. Use Windows Synchronize utility to keep the data synced.
If you use a laptop or work in different locations, a new product called BeInSync automatically makes the connection over the Internet between your laptop and a designated target computer for syncing files. BeInSync updates, automatically and invisibly any and all files designated for syncing. It even allows you to sync files with friends and business associates. Since it works in the background, it does not require a backup event and impose itself on the user's busy day.
Follow this link to get more information on BeInSync: beinsync.com/?rfrid=BIS-P-1038. One important note about BeInSync is that it will sync everything in the My Document folder. Move My Music, My Videos, and other large folders out of the My Documents before enabling BeInSync.
What's the bottom line on backup?
The bottom line on backup is that it is absolutely necessary for everyone that has something to lose if his or her computer was lost, stolen, or simply failed from regular use. There is a wide variety of solutions in the marketplace to keep your data backed up. Spend the time to explore and implement your back up solution. If you are not technical, hire an expert to create a solution that works for you. It will be some of the best money that you will spend.
Eric Guth and Joel Gering are owners of ProtectMyLaptop.com and SecureTrieve and are experts in the areas of computer troubleshooting and creating and maintaining networks for small businesses and homes. They have over 25 years of hands on experience in data management, data security, and remote data recovery.
Data Backup Solution: Why You Need a Backup Plan in Place - Part 2
In the first part of this article series, I talked about the three main threats to the data on your computer. I talked about the need for a data backup solution that protects your data properly.
How To Use Spyware Elimination Software
Spyware elimination software is designed to detect and eliminate spyware. A large number of spyware elimination software products are available.
Avoiding Hard Disk Data Recovery Services
As a home computer owner, one of the greatest threats to your information and to your wallet, is hard disk failure. When your drive crashes, you will quicky realize how valuable the information you can no longer access is.
Computer Data Backup - Data Backup Solution Will Give You A Peace Of Mind
Imagine that you have been working on a file for the entire day and there was a power surge that caused your computer to 'black out'. It would have been a frustrating experience for us as we had put in a lot of time and effort into it.
Want To Beat The Odds? Disaster Recovery Planning is Essential
Statistics show two out of five businesses go out of business within five years of experiencing a major disaster.These statistics are staggering.
Data Recovery Processes
Six months ago my computer crashed. When I turned my computer on it would not load Windows XP and so I could not get into my two hard drive files.
5 Simple Tips to Prevent MS Access Database Corruption
It's important to understand that any time an Access client disconnects unexpectedly, it may set a "corruption flag" in the .mdb file indicating that the database is in a corrupt state (regardless of whether any data has actually been corrupted or not).
Every person who uses a personal computer will eventually face the challenge of data recovery. Computer hardware and software can be temperamental from time to time.
Data Backup Solution: Why You Need a Backup Plan in Place - Part 1
Is a data backup solution part of your computer plans? Do you have a way to protect yourself if something goes wrong with your computer or data? Computers are a useful part of our lives but we don't always protect ourselves from their loss be it fire, theft or hardware failure.We often don't consider how fragile our computer data really is.
Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery - Risk Analysis and Control
In the risk evaluation phase, there are a number of key areas that must be covered. One of the most important is to understand probable threats.
Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery - Business Impact Analysis
Business impact analysis is a critical part of the business continuity planning process. This step quantifies data and gets into the real world issue of potential losses that can negatively impact your business.
Backup Your Data Or Lose Your Life!
Oh the perils of collecting those precious photos on your PC for years, only to have your hard drive crash one day, and not have made a SINGLE BACKUP COPY of any of your priceless pictures. Well, now is the time to backup your hard drive.
The Importance of Data Backups
All computers and their components are subject to failure. In fact sooner or later every business will be confronted with some type of computer failure.
How to Effectively Back Up Your Data
What to backup, and what to loseThe oldest "computer expression" is that there are two kinds of computer users, those that backup their data and those that will. Often, it takes a "data disaster" to compel otherwise responsible people to make a regular habit of backing up their data.
Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery - Selecting A Business Continuity Strategy
The risk analysis and business impact analysis have identified risks to key business functions. Also, the potential impacts and probabilities of these risks as well as the costs to prevent or mitigate damages and the time to recover will have been established.
When Disaster Strikes: How Long Would Your Business Survive if Files On Your Computer Disappeared?
A Tornado? In Birmingham? In The United Kingdom? Unthinkable!Yes, in July 2005 (while I was putting finishing touches to my cave-house in Spain) my house, along with many of my neighbours' houses was struck by a powerful tornado that literally tore up the streets. Leaving people homeless as their homes were bulldozered (with all their possessions inside).
Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery - Reducing Your Risk Profile
Like all plans, there is an ultimate goal to achieve. The goal in a business continuity plan is simply that: to continue your business in the face of a disaster or a disruption.
Learn How To Make Data Backup Over The Internet!
Why should you backup your data on the Internet?There are several reasons.* The backup is located at a secure place for away from your computer.
Disaster Recovery Made Easy With Online Backups
Whenever disaster strikes the most critical asset that every company should have protected from sudden loss due to fire, flooding, or theft is their data. No matter what happens to your hardware you can be sure to be able to be up and running no matter how sudden or how severe your damage or loss is - if you use an online backup system.
Big Time Disaster Recovery Solutions Available for the Little Guy
There was a time - not too long ago - that Data Disaster Recovery solutions were available only in the domain of multinational corporations and big business in general. However, with the proliferation of high speed internet access and the ability to store large amounts of data in a much more cost effective manner due to plummeting storage costs, the ability to perform a secure backup of data to a remote location engineered specifically for the purpose of securely storing massive amounts of information is now in the reach of the general public.
|home | site map|