As data is the lifeblood of modern organizations, losing data can cause massive damage and disrupt business operations. Therefore, it is critical for businesses, as well as for individuals, to have a data backup plan in place to prevent data loss and ensure business continuity.
There are many different ways to back up data, and the best method will vary depending on the type and amount of data, as well as the budget and resources of the organization.
The most common methods of backing up data are on-site backups, off-site backups, and cloud backups.
On-site backups are stored on the same premises as the data, while off-site backups are stored in a separate location. Cloud backups are stored on remote servers and can be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection.
What’s the best way to back up your data?
The best way to back up data will depend on the specific needs of the organization. However, all data backup plans should include multiple backup methods to protect against data loss from hardware failures, software corruption, human error, and natural disasters.
- 1 On-site backups
- 2 Off-site backups
- 3 Cloud backups
- 4 A brief process to backup data
On-site backups are typically the first line of defense against data loss. They are typically stored on an external hard drive or a network-attached storage (NAS) device.
There are many different types of on-site backups, and each type has its own typical method of backup.
The most common type of on-site backup is a full backup. A full backup backs up all of the files on your computer. The backup is typically done to an external hard drive or to a network-attached storage device.
In this method, the hard drive is connected to the computer, and the backup software is used to copy the files to the hard drive. The external hard drive can then be disconnected and stored in a safe location.
This is the best way of backing up data because it’s the most complete; all files are copied. It’s the easiest to restore from if something goes wrong with the backup, and it’s easy to start again.
Another common type of on-site backup is an incremental backup. In this type of backup, only new or changed files are backed up. This is typically done by copying only the changed blocks of data from the original file.
This method is less complete than a full backup, but it’s much faster. And, if you only need to restore a few files, it’s much quicker to do an incremental restore than a full restore.
To back up data using this method, you first need to create a full backup. After that, each time you run the backup, only the changed blocks of data are copied.
A differential backup is similar to an incremental backup, but in this case, all changed files are backed up, not just the changed blocks of data.
This method is more complete than an incremental backup, but it’s slower. And, like an incremental backup, if you only need to restore a few files, it’s quicker to do a differential restore than a full restore.
To back up data using this method, you first need to create a full backup. After that, each time you run the backup, all changed files are copied.
A snapshot backup, which is taken at a specific point in time, is a type of backup copy used to create the entire architectural instance/copy of an application, disk or system. This type of backup is typically used in conjunction with another backup method, such as an incremental or differential backup.
A snapshot backup is useful because it gives you a “point in time” backup that you can restore from. This can be useful if you need to revert to a previous state, or if you want to be able to restore to a specific point in time.
To create a snapshot backup, you first need to create a full backup. After that, the backup software will take a “snapshot” of the data at the current point in time. This snapshot is then stored in a safe location.
If you need to restore from a snapshot backup, you first need to restore the full backup. After that, you can then restore from the snapshot.
The main advantage of on-site backups is that they are quick and easy to create. They can also be scheduled to run automatically on a regular basis. However, such backups are vulnerable to the same disasters that could destroy the original data, such as fires, floods, and earthquakes. They also require regular maintenance to ensure that the data is still readable and the backup devices are in good working order.
Offsite backups are stored in a separate location from the original data. The most common method of storing off-site backups is to ship them to a secure location on a regular basis, such as a bank vault or a commercial data center.
Off-site backups are protected from the same disasters that could destroy on-site backups. They also don’t require regular maintenance, as the data is stored in a secure location by a professional staff.
Besides cloud backup, which we will discuss separately below, there are mainly two types of off-site backups, each with its own set of pros and cons.
External hard drive
External hard drives are a popular type of off-site backup because they’re relatively inexpensive and easy to use. These drives come in varying storage capacities, but they all connect to a computer either by USB, FireWire, eSATA, or wirelessly. Such hard drives are sometimes called portable hard drives. A flash drive is an example of one common and very portable, type of external hard drive.
It’s possible to find huge hard drives (think 4TB) for $100 or less. SSDs, though, are more expensive, smaller drives. 1-2TB SSDs cost $100 to $200 more.
The downside of external hard drives is that they can be lost or stolen, and they’re not as convenient as cloud backup.
Backup tape is another popular type of off-site backup, and it offers many of the same advantages as an external hard drive. The main advantage of backup tape is that it’s very reliable; the data is stored on a physical medium that is less likely to be lost or stolen. The downside is that backup tape can be difficult to use, and it’s not as convenient as cloud backup.
USB flash drive
USB flash drives are a popular type of off-site backup because they’re very inexpensive and easy to use. The downside is that they can be lost or stolen, and they’re not as reliable as backup tape.
But off-site backups can be expensive, as they require the purchase of storage space and the transportation of the data. They can also be time-consuming to create, as the data must be copied and shipped to the off-site location.
Cloud backups are stored on remote servers and can be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection. As of March 2022, over 60 percent of all corporate data is stored in the cloud and 13.93% of small businesses store data or backups in the cloud.
The most popular method of cloud backup is to use a cloud-based service, which can be either a managed service or a self-service.
Managed services are typically more expensive but offer more features and support. Self-service backup services are typically less expensive but may not offer as many features or support.
The most important thing to consider when choosing a cloud backup solution is whether it fits your needs. There is no one-size-fits-all solution, so it is important to choose a solution that offers the features you need at a price you are willing to pay.
The good thing about loud backups is that they are easy to set up and use. They are also relatively inexpensive and can be scaled to meet the needs of an individual or any size organization. For example, Google provides 15 GB of cloud storage per user, both for consumers and a Google Workspaces account.
But the downside of cloud backups includes their dependence on internet connectivity. If the internet connection is down, the data cannot be accessed. They are also vulnerable to hacking attacks, as the data is stored on remote servers.
A brief process to backup data
The most important step is to create copies of important files and folders. This is the only way to be sure that the data can be recovered if something goes wrong.
There are two main ways to create copies of data:
- Use a file synchronization program, for example, AOMEI Backupper, OneDrive, Google Drive, etc., to create an exact copy of selected files and folders. This is known as a “full backup”.
- Use a file compression program, such as WinZip, 7-Zip, PeaZip, etc., to create a “partial backup.” This will compress all files and folders into a single file, which takes up less space on the backup drive.
A file synchronization program:
A file synchronization program is a piece of software that helps you keep two or more copies of a file or folder in sync. This means that when you make a change to one copy, the other copies will be updated automatically.
File compression programs:
This software helps you reduce the size of a file or folder. A file compression program is useful if you want to save space on your backup drive, or if you need to email a large file to someone.
The backup process can take a long time, especially if you have a lot of data to back up. It is important to be patient and not interrupt the process.
Once the backup is complete, it is a good idea to test it to make sure that the data can be recovered. To do this, you will need to:
It is important to have a regular backup schedule, i.e. at least once a week, but preferably once every 24 hours. This will help to ensure that your data is always up-to-date. The frequency of the backups will depend on how often you add or change files. For example, if you only add or change files once a week, then you only need to back up once a week.
Although the best way to back up data will vary depending on the specific needs of the organization, all data backup plans should include multiple backup methods to protect against data loss from hardware failures, software corruption, human error, and natural disasters.
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