Data Backup Methods and Procedures

Always, always back up. Why?
1. Malicious software or a hacker attack can corrupt or delete some or all of your data.
2. Hardware failures can lead to permanently damaged storage devices in which there is no return.
3. Accidental deletion is the most common cause of data loss.

Optical Disks

Optical Disks, such as CDs or DVDs, have been the standard way to back up and store large amounts of data, and they tend to be very cheap. The problem with optical disks is that they can usually only be written to once. Rewritable optical disks are available, but they have a tendency to become less reliable the more you copy data to them. In addition, CDs and DVDs need to be kept under specific conditions, such as keeping them in protective cases and far away from any moisture or sunlight.

Hard Drives

External hard drives are cheaper, larger, and easier to use than ever before. Today’s hard drives often run into the terabyte (1,024 gigabyte) territory and connect to your computer via a USB, FireWire or eSATA port. If you need more data backup abilities, another option to consider is a NAS (network attached storage) system. These storage devices are connected to your home or office network and provides a fast and convenient way to backup and access your data.

Cloud Backup

Cloud backup is typically the reliable approach to keep your data safe and sound. The reason why cloud storage provides the best way to back up your data is because it is completely separated from your hardware. The cloud is an online storage service on the Internet that stores your data across multiple servers. Cloud computing and storage is now a common practice and can be found integrated into modern operating systems. The only major disadvantage of cloud backup is that storage space is limited, and you will have pay an extra $50 to $100 a year to back up a large amount of data from all your computers and mobile devices to an online storage service, such as Carbonite, Google Drive, iDrive, iCloud, Mozy, or SkyDrive.

Backup Programs

Windows 7 and 8 both offer integrated applications that can create complete system-recovery images. In Windows 8, the backup application is somewhat hidden under Control Panel -> All Items -> Windows 7 File Recovery. There are also several backup applications that are easier or more versatile to use, such as Acronis Backup & Recovery and True Image, Easeus Todo Backup, Genie Timeline Backup, and NovaBackup. If you decide to use the cloud, the service will provide a backup application for you to use and normally creates a local backup on your internal or external hard drive and a backup of your data online.