Backup Basics 101: A Guide to Home & Business Backups

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What is a Backup?

A backup is a copy of your data, preferably kept off-site and on a different type of media than your primary copy.

Why Should I Backup?

If your computer or server is infected with malware, suffers a hardware failure or worse, a natural disaster, you might need to restore your files from another location.

It might be more likely than you think: A 2009 survey found 52% of all businesses surveyed have experienced unforeseen interruptions due to technology failures, natural disasters and more1.

Although computer problems happen often, only 8% of computer users have an up to date backup of their data2.

How Do I Backup?

A backup can either be completed manually or automatically.

Manual backups, such as copying your files to another location are not recommended as they are easily forgotten and do not include critical system files which may be needed in a recovery.

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Automatic backups, using a backup program do include all files, are always up to date and can be configured to alert you if there’s any errors in the backup process.

There are many different backup programs available, picking a suitable one can be difficult. It’s best to speak to an expert to determine the one that’s right for you.

Am I Doing it Right?

You should follow the 3, 2, 1 backup strategy:

3 – Keep 3 copies of your data: 1 primary and 2 backups
2 – Keep the files on 2 different media types to protect against different hazards
1 – Store 1 copy off-site (e.g., outside of your home or business)

This simple rule will ensure you are protected against virtually all disasters and is endorsed by the US Government3.

What Else Do I Need to Know?

Although having an up to date backup is important, testing that you can actually restore your data is just as important.

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For individuals, simply restoring a few different files on a regular basis should be enough to ensure you have reliable backups if a virus or hardware problem were to occur.

For organisations, a disaster recovery or business continuity plan should be in place to mitigate downtime in the event of a disaster. Despite the risk, 45% of businesses in 2011 did not have a plan in place4.

You should discuss acceptable downtime with your IT Support to ensure your expectations are being met and that you have a plan in place if a disaster were to occur.

What Next?

If you have any questions or need help setting up a backup or recovery plan to keep you online, feel free to contact us for a tailored, yet cost-effective solution.

Sources

1 http://www2.agilityrecovery.com/assets/survey/survey_results_2009_complete.pdf
2 https://www.backblaze.com/blog/backup-awareness-month-2015/
3 https://www.us-cert.gov/sites/default/files/publications/data_backup_options.pdf
4 http://www.regus.com/images/Half%20Prepared_tcm304-49366.pdf

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