Options For Backing Up Data

by : Andywest

Data loss can be devastating, whether you are a small business owner or the average PC user. Customer information files, emails, and family photos are all equally irreplaceable. In order to protect your valuable data, it is imperative that you have a good system for saving, backing up, and archiving.

There are many options for saving and storing your data. The key is to try to anticipate disasters before they happen, and back up your data in a way that will protect it from becoming lost to you forever.

1: Backing up on CD/DVD: CDs and DVDs are a somewhat old-fashioned way of backing up your data, harkening back to the days when floppy disks were used for this purpose. Although CDs and DVDs have considerably more capacity than floppies used to, it's a drop in the bucket compared to the size of hard drives these days. Be prepared to burn many CDs or DVDs, and keep in mind that finding and restoring files could be a little tedious, no matter how well organized your filing system is. Also, a disaster that destroys your computer could also destroy your backups if you keep your archives in the same place.

2: Backing up to flash memory. Memory cards and flash drives provide a good data storage option for those who need more space and quicker backup times than CDs and DVDs can offer. Memory cards and flash drives are also extremely portable, enabling you to back up on the go, or take copies of your data with you. However, both memory cards and flash drives still offer much smaller storage capacities than many people need, and you will still need to store the backups at a separate location for total data security.

3: Backing up to an external hard drive. External hard drives are great because they have as much (if not more) space as your regular hard drive, usually connect via USB for rapid data transfer times, and can be stored at a separate location to avoid both your computer and your backups being destroyed or stolen at the same time.

4: Using an online backup or archiving service. Online backup and archiving is probably the easiest and safest way to back up your data, and as a result many people feel it is worth the expense. It usually consists of a low monthly fee instead of the one-time cost of buying data storage devices. Most online backup services enable you to set automatic backups, which means you don't have to remember to back up the data yourself. The system does it automatically. Also, online backup means that your data is stored far away from your home or office, ensuring that whatever happens to your computer, your backups will always be there.

Information saved on the computer are easier to keep and share than old-fashioned paper-based systems, so often users get lulled into a false sense of security. It is important to remember that even computers can't offer complete permanence, making it crucial that you back up your data often.