Like many great things on the Internet, World Backup Day began as a Reddit thread three years ago, and it remains to serve as a reminder to save all your important data to somewhere secure at least once a year.
All throughout March, users can take a social media pledge to back up their important files, and have until March 31 to make good on their data storage promise. Let’s take a look some items and practices that will help you make the most of World Backup Day.
Employ the 3-2-1 Rule of Data Storage and Backup
The 3-2-1 approach to data storage “means that people should have three copies of everything they care about, in two different formats, and one copy offsite,” says Nat Maple, senior vice president at Acronis, a utility & backup software manufacturer. Generally, this would entail one physical backup in an external drive, one cloud backup, and another physical backup at an offsite location.
Disk imaging, or cloning, is the method best suited for the storage and retrieval of large amounts of data. Disk imaging copies the contents of a computer’s entire hard drive—files, software, drivers, and settings—and transfers it to a storage medium, like a DVD, hard disk drive, or USB Flash drive.
As an example, professional photographers keep large amounts of data on hand that they want to be able to access and move around as fast as possible. By employing a disk image, they are able to save a catalog of photographs and specialized program settings to a storage device in order to easily transfer files to a client in the form of a DVD or disk drive.
Nearly every line of work has unique data needs. Some professions like retail, law offices and medical practices are bound by extra layers of compliance for data storage and backup procedures. Make sure to be aware of the rules.
Related content: Network Attached Storage Is an Attorney’s Best Friend
Have the right hardware for the job
Choosing an external data storage solution that fits your needs depends on several factors.
- How much data you have
- How fast will you need to access your data
- The computers and hardware you have in place
- Applicable regulatory compliance
- Your budget
Hard disk drives are still the least expensive way to store large amounts of data. Unless your line of work is something like video editing that requires storage of very large files, having an 8 TB Desktop External Hard Drive should be more than sufficient for making regular backups. Using a Seagate 8 TB Seagate Backup Plus HDD as an example, you will be paying roughly $0.04 per GB of storage.
Using network attached storage (NAS) adds convenience for backing up and accessing your stored data. A NAS device can be accessed by computers on a network, and has built-in security features if users wish to keep certain files private. Many NAS storage devices have cloud features that make stored data accessible from anywhere with an Internet connection.
For backups, NAS devices have bays that store multiple hard drives. This makes NAS an example of a redundant array of inexpensive disks (commonly referred to as RAID), by which users can configure data backups in a way that safeguards the data even if a hard drive should fail. Here is a more in-depth look at various RAID configurations SMBs can deploy to best suit their data storage needs.
Solid state drives (SSDs) offer faster performance and added durability at a higher per-GB price point. Unlike HDDs that have spinning platters and other moving parts, the nonvolatile Flash memory inside an SSD remains stationary, which makes it less susceptible to being damaged by drops or shocks. Flash performance is snappier as well, which makes transferring data less time consuming. Even though SSDs are more commonly used for boosting computer performance as a place to house an operating system and frequently accessed files, declining prices over the past two years make SSDs viable for backups, especially if data is needs to be accessed on a regular basis. For backup purposes, external USB SSDs make the most sense.
Software that facilitates data storage and backups
The right software can automate data storage, backup, and imaging procedures. It also eases the process if you have to restore your computer in the event of a system failure. If your office has multiple computers, choose the software accordingly. For example, if you have up to five computers, a software pack like Acronis True Image – 5 Devices is the best value. Several other brands of utility & backup software are available as well. Shop around and read the user reviews.
Additionally, we have prepared a detailed step-by-step guide for imaging a PC using Windows System Image Backup or third party software.
Backup your data all year long
One last thing to keep in mind: while World Backup Day serves as a nice reminder to make sure to back up your important files, data storage and backup is something best achieved year round.