What is a reliable backup strategy?

Backing up your data is important.  Many people ask how to backup and make sure they are protected.  Prime Insight is here to offer some suggestions.  It's not hard to understand the need for a backup.  Data can be lost, corrupted or accidentally deleted.  Having a solid backup plan in place help you recover your data.

What are you protecting your data from?

  • If you share a computer with someone else, there is always the potential they might accidentally delete something you wanted to save.
  • If the computer is damaged beyond repair, by power surges or a small child or pet, your data could be lost.
  • If your house suffers a catastrophe, flooding, fire, tornado, collapsed roof from snow, your data could be lost.
  • Malware could infect your computer and damage or hold ransom over your data.

When we talk about backup, most of the people we have talked to say they have an external hard drive and they copy their data to it "once in a while."  This is a bad strategy.  Unless the backup is made regularly, it will be out of date.  The most recent files will be missing, and those are the ones you are most likely to want back.

Here are a few things to consider when designing a backup strategy:

  • Your backup strategy should be automated.
  • Your backup strategy should be stored out of your home or office.

It is for these reasons that Prime Insight recommends cloud based backups. These systems will backup your data continuously, as changes are made.  They backup to a remote data center away from your home or office.  But are they safe?

It is important to choose a backup provider that offers encrypted backups.  Most do, and most do NOT keep the encryption key themselves.  Meaning, they cannot decrypt your backup.  Only you can recover the data.

This sounds like the perfect solution, but what are the downsides?  

There are two downsides to a cloud based backup.  The first is that you have to have a high-speed internet connection, and even with that the initial backup can take a LONG time.  When one of our customers started using a cloud backup solution, it took months to get a complete backup.  This was a combination of slow upload speeds, and a lot of data.  This is not typical, but it's something to consider.

The other downside is cost.  While cloud backup solutions are not very expensive, they are not free either.

It is at this point that I will mention that Prime Insight has no sponsors, and does not get any money for the recommendations it makes.  We recommend using Carbonite for cloud backup.  It is easy to setup, easy to monitor, it is reasonably priced, and encrypted and safe.  They have plans that cover multiple computers.  They have plans to cover mobile devices.  Overall they are a good choice for backup.