It’s 31st March which means it’s World Backup Day. The day is celebrated around the world as a way to create awareness among the users to take regular backups of their data. It’s a reminder that no matter how advanced technology gets, there’s always a chance of failure and that’s when backups come in handy.
The unfortunate thing about World Backup Day is that most of the users learn its importance the hard way. Data loss, while rare happens and most of the times there’s nothing one can do about it other than regret. However, if you’re one of the lucky ones who never had data loss, then we might advise you to continue that streak. This World Backup Day, make a pledge to yourself that you will take backups of your data.
Ideally, we would recommend users to follow the 3,2,1,0 rule. The 3,2,1,0 rule states that one should take three backups of their data in two different formats, one of which should be an off-site backup and there should be zero errors in your backup systems. This essentially means that users should take three backups, two of those should be in different formats like one can be a hard drive and the other can be DVD or cloud storage and one backup should always be kept off-site.
The reason one should keep two different formats is to prevent data loss and different formats do have different strengths and weakness when it comes to redundancy. Keeping one copy off-site usually prevents data loss due to things that are not in control of the user like fire or floods.
That said, we are pretty sure that people don’t always follow the rule completely but we do highly recommend storing data in two different formats, one of which should be off-site. Now might be having a lot of questions related to backups so we have decided to make a list of the important things to consider while taking a backup.
Where to start
This might be the biggest and the most important question for anyone who decides to take backups. Currently, we do have many options like SSDs, Hard Drives, NAS, USBs and the cloud. The rule of thumb while taking a backup should be to decide if the data is important or not and the best way to do so is to think if you can download it back again from the internet. If there’s something you can’t download off the internet then you should definitely take a backup. Once you identify the data that needs to be backed up, you will need to decide what format to use. Different formats have different use cases and different weakness.
You will have to select formats based on how often you will need to access the data and how important the data itself is. We have prepared a list of widely used formats to help you decide. Currently, the data backup can be separated into two broad categories- Flash Drives/Physical storage options and cloud storage.
Flash Drives and Physical Storage
Flash Drives here include all the physical drives like USBs, NAS, Hard Drives, SSDs and even the CD/DVDs. The biggest advantage of using these is the access as they are always with you and don’t require the internet to access data. The issue with these is if you lose them or drop them into the water, they are dead and so is your data.
However, these are the most commonly used hardware to take backup and recently companies have started bundling backup softwares with Hard Drives that allow users to take backups with ease. Microsoft has been bundling a similar tool with Windows 7 and has added a backup option inside Windows 10 as well. You can head to Settings>Update and Security>Backup and select a backup drive where the data from your primary drive can be backed up. You can use the ”More options” option to restore data from the backup drive in case your primary drive fails or crashes.
Another easy but expensive way to setup backup is to use NAS. NAS stands for Network Attached Storage and it allows users to create a custom server that can be hooked to their local network and can be accessed using any and all the devices on the network. Softwares like Acronis backup allow users to create a backup of their devices on their NAS which can be accessed in case disaster strikes. Speaking of softwares, Acronis backup is currently available for a 50% flat discount to promote healthy backup habits among the users.
Cloud Storage is currently one of the best ways to secure data and it doesn’t cost too much as well. It allows users to create an off-site backup of their data which can be accessed easily from anywhere on the planet. While Cloud Storage has benefits of being separate from the user and hence not being prone to disasters, it does require a good internet connection to access the data.
Cloud Storages are offered by many companies and the popular ones include, Microsoft’s OneDrive, Apple’s iCloud and Google Drive. These support almost all the major platforms and work even cross-platform. Uploading data on Cloud Storages might be the best way to secure them in the long-term. Microsoft bundles OneDrive with Windows 10 which is a good way to sync and backup data on the go.
We highly recommend users to put important documents and other important data into the OneDrive folder so it can be backed up automatically. However, Cloud Storage is also not completely future-proof as systems do fail. This might be rare with big companies like Google and Microsoft but it does happen. So we don’t recommend you using Cloud Storage as the primary backup for the really important data you have or data that you need to access regularly.
Backup and Encryption Softwares
You can never be too careful and that’s why there are softwares that will help you in an event when you forgot to backup or lose all copies of your backups. Currently, AOMEI is offering their backup software called AOMEI Backupper Professional Edition for free. You can download the software from here and it comes with a license key to activate it. The offer is valid till 1st April and post that the license key will be invalid so make sure you activate your license before that.
One last thing before we close is the importance of using encryption. While taking backups is important, encrypting the data is even more important so it’s important that you use good encryption software to protect your data. Microsoft’s BitLocker is an excellent encryption software offered by Microsoft for free. You can access BitLocker by going to Control Panel>All Control Panel Items>BitLocker Drive Encryption and turning on BitLocker for the drive you want to encrypt. Do note that encryption will take time and your drive might not be accessible during the encryption process.
While it’s not possible to cover everything in one article, we have tried to highlight good practices to keep your data safe. We urge everyone to understand the importance of taking backups and start taking backups. One thing that everyone needs to remember is that systems fail, mishaps happen, so you can’t be 100% sure that your data is safe. What you can do is run regular checks of your devices and make sure they are error-free and have multiple copies of your data. This World Backup Day, take a step forward and ensure that your data is always safe. We hope that this article helps you in taking better care of your data and making sure your precious data is always safe.