Next time you switch on your device, you could lose everything!!! This statement should make you sit up and take note if you don’t backup. If ignored, you could be the next data loss casualty. If your files are important, sentimental, crucial for business and your activities, you should have a backup procedure in place. Learn how to be prepared to restore your files or system should the worst happen.
I get anxious customers hoping I can retrieve their files from their broken computers or faulty drives. I have been mostly successful in retrieving them, but some have been bitterly disappointed they lost everything. A tough backup lesson learnt but read on if you do not want to suffer the same loss.
“I back up my files religiously, I pray nothing happens to them.”
Data Loss Causes
Every time you switch on your computer, tablet or phone, there is a possibility of losing all your data through varied reasons, listed below:
Human error. We all make mistakes and some we cannot undo. Deleting wrong files or using the device incorrectly can lock you out or remove those beloved pictures and files. Not reacting properly when issues crop up can see the entire system and files go up to technology heaven.
Hardware damage. As drives are built into the mainboard, data loss is more common with modern devices. Power surges, fire, flood, and spillages can all make systems and files go forever.
Drive failure. As hard drives are mechanical, they are prone to failure. If knocked when spinning, they can make the whole drive inaccessible. Solid-state drives are more dependable, but these can also breakdown through no fault of our own.
Cyber-attacks. Ransomware, malware, viruses are waiting on the internet and sent round the world. Responding to fake company requests or clicking emails can have your data balancing on a data loss tightrope.
Backup options to reduce the chance of data loss.
Several choices are available to limit the danger of loss to a minimum. A good backup plan will remove the stress and have your systems restored should the worse happen. The list below starts with the easiest and finishes with the most effective.
- Backing up to a separate drive is quick way to store a copy of all your files. With the copy separated from the main system on an external drive, hardware damage will not affect this storage. Drives stored close to PC are susceptible to damage if there is a local fire or flood.
- Mirror or RAID drive setups are an effective way to provide a quick restore of computer services. Minimum of two drives are used having a replica of the first drive or are spanned across the disks. If one drive becomes faulty, you can continue working using the remaining working drives whilst ordering another to replace. Data loss can occur in instances of theft, fire inside PC, or two drives fail at the same time. Normally implemented in businesses.
- System and file backup is an effective way to restore operating system, software, and files in one go. Windows backup and Apple Time Machine both offer this on the system. Can also take regular full images of your system created onto separate drives. Previous versions can offer quick restoration of files if you need to go back to earlier saved versions.
- Additional backup drive offsite can offer an effective backup solution in the event of a fire, flood, or theft. As these disasters can wipe out anything in the same location, retrieval of files and systems are still possible. Not always the quickest restore option depending on where it is stored.
- Use Apple/Android device backup can restore all software and files is most cases. You can lose all your files if you drop your device in liquid, stolen, damaged or needs upgrading. Using Google or Apple services provide a quick way to get your new device working like your previous one. This process is as easy as logging back into your account and automatically downloads your apps and files.
- Cloud storage is currently the most effective way to back up your files. This offers restoration in all disaster scenarios detailed above. Files are always accessible worldwide and protected against attacks. If storage space is low, you can use free online storage from Microsoft, Google, Apple, Dropbox. Free accounts offer storage limits between 5GB – 15GB. If you require more space:
- Microsoft offer 1TB of online storage with an Office 365 subscription
- Google offers 100GB, 200GB & 2TB of online storage for a monthly fee
- Apple has plans of 50GB, 200GB and 2TB for a monthly fee
- Dropbox starts at 2TB and has family options
Use the 3-2-1 Rule
- Three copies of your data saved
- on Two storage solutions
- with One stored remotely
This rule normally provides a stepped restoration approach from quick recoveries to comprehensive cover to deal with most data loss issues.
All information is correct at time of writing.