Data Backup Importance and Recovery Methods
Many people understand the necessity of backing up computer data but often take the risk of not spending the time to make sure a proper backup is done. This can be dangerous, especially to business, because data loss can cause unexpected problem which can often lead to financial loss as well.
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DO NOT OVERLOOK THE IMPORTANCE OF BACKUPS.
• The computer is new, so we can wait a while to backup.
Data loss seems to always happen at an unexpected time and this would be one of those times. Hard drives can be fickle and often a new drive, once put under a daily strain, may show signs of a manufacturing issue or even fail completely.
• I put my files on a flash or thumb drive, or even save it to CD.
Copying your data to another form of media outside the computer is a great first step in back up. But often, the correct files may not have even been copied to the CD or flash drive. Or the write to the drive was not complete or unsuccessful. Also, flash drives and CDs do not last forever, especially if either is trying to be used as permanent storage. They can fail as well. You don't want to wait until your computer is not working to find out the data you copied long ago is not able to be used.
• I just backed up last month
When we are caught up with tasks day to day, we do not realize how much time is put into the data that we have on our computers. Financial files or documents take an enormous amount of time to recreate, especially if there are no physical records of their existence. Trying to remember what invoices were made, or what references were made in a letter last week or even yesterday, can be difficult for the best of us. The best backup is a frequent backup, and daily whenever possibly.
• I back up online so it's safe.
With the increase of internet speeds and the availability of cheap backup space on offsite server farms, online backup is a great model for some backup strategies. The mistake that is often made is that the backups are never checked to make sure a restore will work properly. Test recoveries should be made at regular intervals to make sure what you back up, and the service you are paying for, are working correctly, and that you are backing up the correct files. Also, although usually reliable, there have been times when backup services have also been able to retrieve the backup files previously thought to have been safe from disaster.
Also, online backups back up only data and not the entire system.
• Oh No!
To help clearly illustrate what happens when backups are found to not work once a disaster happens, here are some phrases that are often heard that represent what happens when backups may not have been done properly, frequently, or confirmed.
- I'm not sure if I had a backup or not sure when the last backup was successful
- I'm not sure how to recover the data I backed up
- I don't see the files I need to restore on the backup - This backup is not the right one
- This backup is from a long time ago
- It was done automatically so I'm not sure what kind of backup we use
- I thought it automatically backed up (when it does not)
- I thought you could just recover the data? (From a bad drive this is not always possible.)
Refer to the Data Recovery section.
Don't find yourself wondering these same things to yourself. Confidence in your data and backup strategies is what we want to provide all our customers.
HOW COMPUTER SOURCE HELPS YOU BACKUP.
Our years of expertise has put us face to face with countless data loss situations, so we know how crucial data backup is. We offer a variety of software, hardware, and online solutions to create the best strategy for keeping your data safe.
First, we provide the best tools for the job with reliable software and backup equipment. Then we assume an expected lifespan of your current hardware - for instance, hard drive life spans are generally three to five years.
We practice and encourage the 3-2-1 rule of backup. This means having 3 (yes, 3!) copies of your data, especially important files. Having three copies greatly increases your ability to recover good, uncorrupted data. Some people do consider this an overkill, but we have often seen where a third copy would have been the key to complete data recovery.
The next step of this strategy ensures data integrity. Use two (2) types of media to store the backups - one copy on your source (your desktop, laptop, or server), and one copy each on two different external media, such as one on CD/DVD and the other on an external harddrive or tape drive. The reasons for this are simple. No media is perfect. One type of media may fail on you, especially when the backup is for long-term archival purposes. CD/DVDs can bubble or scratch making it unreadable, hard drives fail as already mentioned, and Tapes are difficult to recover from and are susceptible to temperature and moisture, and can be erased in a second with a magnet.
The last part of the rule is to keep one (1) copy offsite. This could be either an extra copy away from the premises of the source, at another location or a bank vault, or an online location through an online backup service. This ensures, especially for businesses, that if something physical happens at the location of your source desktop, laptop, or server, like a flood or fire, you are secure in knowing you have a safe backup somewhere else.
No backup is any good unless it is verified. With any backup strategy, and especially the 3-2-1, you should always do a periodic check and validation to make sure all your backups are working as planned. Randomly select files and try restoring from each of the backups making sure that the file is usable when restored.
How much should I backup? This all depends on your situation. Computer Source can help you develop the strategy and backup plan that suits your individual or business specific needs. In some cases, one of the backups could contain a complete system backup, but usually most backup programs concentrate on your actual data and ignore system and application files since it is usually assumed you have the ability to reinstall all that from your original install disks. At the minimum, your data files should be backed up. Data files are the files you have put on the computer yourself since owning it, and are the most important, crucial, and irreplaceable files on your system.
Did my Backup work? The most important rule after the actual backup is to check what has been backed up. Most backup software has ways to run a recovery to a different drive, so as not to write over your good data, or sometimes you can just look at the backup media and check to see if the files you need backup up are there.
I have a RAID, doesn't that protect me? RAID are disk arrays that, in some configurations, do create some data redundancy, but are meant primary to achieve greater speed when writing data and are not true backups in the sense of the term. One mistake that people often make, even if their data is duplicated with a mirrored RAID configuration, is to rely on that mirror as a backup. However, if data corruption occurs on one drive, the corruption will carry over to the second drive, so no good file ends up existing between the two. So it is still a wise strategy to have backups separate than the current running drive configuration.
Mistakes do happen or a backup strategy is neglected. In those cases, the only place your data remains, is on your computer. When your computer or hard drive fails, you don't have many options for getting your precious data back. Sometimes, however, not all hope is lost.
Computer Source has successfully recovered terabytes of customers data in the past and will try it's best to recover your data from any of your failed hardware. Bring in your computer today and we will run a full recovery scan to see if your data is recoverable and give you options to get your system back up and running. We have highly rated recovery software and tools to get to your precious data.
Other recovery options. We try our best to recover your data here, but sometimes that task is beyond our abilities. When the hardware is at a point that we can not perform recovery here locally, Computer Source recommends DriveSavers data recovery. DriveSavers is one of the top data recovery businesses in the country and have been extremely reliable and successful with some of the worst cases of drive recovery. Computer Source can remove the drive from your system and prep it for sending out to DriveSavers. If you would like to contact DriveSavers regarding a quote or sending your drive to them for recovery, you can contact them at 1-800-440-1904, or go to www.drivesavers.com.