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Diversify Your Data Backup

Two new clients came to us after experiencing data backup failures. While no single backup solution is guaranteed to work all the time, the odds are highly against every backup system failing at the same time. The best solution, in a word, is “diversification.” If you choose carefully, you can get the right backup systems for what you need to store and save yourself some money, too.

You have many options to backup and restore pictures, videos and other types of data files, but let’s look at three broad categories: the cloud, external drives and media such as DVDs and thumb drives. If you are highly concerned about the safety and recovery of your data, you can pick a system in each category and feel confident you can always get your data. If all systems fail, chances are your data will be a minor worry.

The cloud, otherwise known as a system of large, remote and redundant servers and storage facilities, is the foundation of most data backup and recovery systems. We now work with multiple cloud-based storage and recovery providers, giving you the ability to implement a system that meets your volume, data-sensitivity and pricing parameters. Despite the iCloud invasions, cloud-based systems remain safe places for your data, and for a relatively low cost, you can rest assured you can protect your data and get files whenever and wherever you need them.

External hard drives come in a variety of sizes and speeds. Home and SOHO users can buy them in sizes from 500 GB to 3 TB and connect them through USB 2.0 and 3.0 ports for up to a few hundred dollars. You can cross the $1,000 mark and get 12-to-20 TB units, but for most of you, that’s probably overkill. If you really want to protect your data, you should consider having multiple external hard drives to cover a unit failure, and you could keep external drives at another location and swap them on a regular basis. It all depends on what’s right for you.

External hard drives are essential add-ons for data-intensive applications. A client with a video editing business found this out soon after buying a new computer and running out of space shortly thereafter. In this case, the external drive provides easily accessible storage for files of work in progress, and it gives the computer’s hard drive room to do all the manipulation required for video editng.

Mac users have access to Time Machine, the built-in backup feature of OS X that works with your Mac and an external drive (sold separately) or AirPort Time Capsule. Time Machine automatically backs up your entire Mac and remembers how your system looked on any given day. It keeps hourly backups for the past 24 hours, daily backups for the past month, and weekly backups until your backup drive is full.

Saving files to DVDs and thumb drives is inexpensive and relatively quick and easy to do. You can easily make multiple copies, and you can easily store them in multiple locations. We generally advise relying on them as a supplemental backup for important files.

Selecting your backup system or combination of systems is like buying insurance. The more you value your data, the more you’ll want to increase and diversify your backup capacity. And just as there is an insurance program that meets your economics and tolerance for risk, there’s a backup system that will work for you. Talk to us about your needs, and we’ll find the solution that best matches them. Call – 973-433-6676 – or email to start the process.