Data backup: Protect your data before it is too late.

Nicole P. data protection, data synchronization, online backup, remote backup, server backup

Backup your data before your device crashes and burns

In this short article, Nicole will discuss in very simple terms what is data backup and why it is important.

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In a perfect world, everyone’s devices would run smoothly and operate without the threat of breaking down. The reality, however, is that electronics crash, fail and stop working. Because mistakes and disasters happen regularly, devices are not failsafe and inevitably break down, it is essential for individuals and businesses to protect their valuable information by backing up data.

What is data backup and why is it important to protect your data

Data backup is best defined as comprehensive data security and works by making an automatic copy of the original data and keeping that copy secure on a secondary endpoint.

Backup serves two key functions:

  1. It allows data restoration after a loss [1]
  2. It permits users to recover information [1].

Combined with realtime data synchronization, which protects the data that is being currently worked on, older data with data copy and snapshots, data backup enterprise or end user data will be protected.

Due to annual increases in data loss and data breaches, backup and the ability to recover or restore data is crucial for an organization’s success and its business continuity. Between 2012 and 2014, there was a 400% increase of data loss with costs exceeding $900,000 per incident, per business. Of those surveyed, only 27% of companies’ data was protected by the application of back up strategies. Additionally, only 18% of surveyed businesses believed their existing method(s) of data protection would meet impending data loss and restoration problems [3].

While the need for organizations to backup their data is clear, follow-through and belief in its advantages is lacking. It is necessary that businesses are educated on proper data backup and its benefits [3]. Benefits of backup include:

  • Backup provides flexibility because of unlimited accessibility to data regardless of where the user is or what time it is [4]
  • Backing up data provides organizations added protection of important files in case of data breaches and/or accidental losses [4]
  • Data backup offers fast and efficient restoration [4] but not as fast as file replication.
  • It protects the organization’s reputation [4]
  • Backing up data saves businesses money by limiting downtime, legal fees and lost business costs [4].

Why do problems occur?

As time goes by, systems are stressed to the max because they are bombarded with more and more requirements— multiple users, constant hardware and software updates and massive quantities of data to deal with all contribute to the strain placed upon systems. Subsequently, devices breakdown because they are required to do so much on a daily basis in order to provide service and the consequence is lost data [1]. As a matter of fact, 45% of businesses surveyed reported hardware failure as the leading source of lost data and downtime [3].

In addition to system failures, there are a number of reasons why organizations experience unintended downtime and data loss. The following are reasons that contribute to data loss [3] (listed in order of most to least prevalent):

  • Loss of electricity
  • Software breakdown
  • Corrupt data
  • Breach of security from outside sources
  • Human error
  • Backup power loss
  • Breach of security from inside sources
  • Physical damage of device
  • Cloud/online service malfunction
  • Disgruntled employees/intentional destruction
  • Disasters caused by nature such as floods.

As evident, lost data is a significant concern and it is essential that people and organizations prepare themselves for such catastrophes by using data backup and having a data recovery plan [5].

What kind of data needs to be backed up?

The prevalence of data means there is a wide array of information and files that need to be backed up. It is recommended to back up the following data/files[6]:

  • Media such as photos, music and videos
  • Confidential documents such as taxes and medical records
  • Emails
  • Browsers: useful so favorites and bookmarks as well as cookies and passwords can be restored
  • Drivers: the software that connects your device to scanners, printers, etc.
  • Social Networks: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn.

What are the different methods of data backup?

There are a variety of backup techniques available and the kind used depends on the organization’s wants and needs. The following are the methods of backup available:

  • Full backup: Backup in which a complete replica of any selected data. It’s the most dependable and trustworthy kind of backup, however, it laborious and involves a great deal of disks [7]
  • Select Files and Folders: Backup software used for backing up specific data [6]
  • Differential backup: Generates backup copies of all files that have been modified since the last full backup [7]
  • Incremental backup: Intended to produce backups of only files that have been modified since the last backup performed [7]
  • Daily backups: Backs up files by using the date of the amendment listed on the file. The backup occurs if a file was changed on the same day as the backup. This method doesn’t alter the archive features of files [7].

What backup storage options are available?

An important part of backing up data is deciding what kind of storage device meets the individual or organization’s needs. Numerous backup storehouses exist and all have their advantages and disadvantages [8]. Data can be backed up to the following:

  • External hard drives: A device that connects to one computer instead of multiple devices
    • (+) Ease of use [8]
    • (+) Can use software to set up automatic backups [8]
    • (-) Can be expensive and can fail [8]
  • CDs/Blu-ray/DVDs
    • (+) Transportable, inexpensive [8]
    • (+) Drive crashes are not a potential problem [8]
    • (-) Slow process[8]
    • (-) Outlook of CD-capable technology is uncertain [8]
    • (-) Limited capacity.
  • USB Flash Drives
    • (+) Cheap, transportable, some are waterproof [8]
    • (-) Small and easy to lose [8]
    • (-) Limitations to storage capacities [8]
  • Network Attached Storage (NAS): A storage device that stays on the user’s network and is reserved solely for data storage
  • (+) Backups of numerous devices [8]
  • (+) Allows streaming, file sharing, etc. [6]
  • (+) NAS has remote access, different settings so you can choose how your data is stored [6]
  • (-) Can be expensive [8]
  • Online Storage: AKA “The Cloud”
  • (+) Operates covertly so it goes unnoticed [6]
  • (+) Typically inexpensive and very secure [8]
  • (-) Potential that site may close [8]
  • (-) Limited data capacity [8]
  • (-) If the network dies, access to data will be lost.

Why and how to create a Disaster Recovery Plan

In addition to backing up data, organizations should develop a Disaster Recovery Plan (DRP) in the event that they experience a data failure [5]. A DRP is necessary to protect data and to ensure successful restoration. The most important part of developing a DRP is deciding what needs to be backed up and the frequency of the backups [7]. The following are some factors to consider when formulating a DRP:

  • The importance of the data
  • How frequently the changes are made to the data
  • The speed in which data recovery is needed
  • What devices are needed
  • Who will be held accountable for carrying out the plan and who is the contact person
  • When should the backup be scheduled for
  • Is off-site storage of backup needed ?

Backup provides increased security and protection and quick data recovery in case of a disaster. When properly executed, data backup will save people and companies from losing data, time, money and will reduce stress. For these reasons, it is highly recommended to utilize and deploy a data backup solution and a DRP.

References

1. Mullins, Craig (4 August 2014). “On The Importance of Database Backup and Recovery”. Data and Technology Today. Retrieved 17 February 2017.
2. “Backup and File Sync: Why You Need Both”. MozyEnterprise. Retrieved 12 February 2017.
3. “Are You Protected? Get Ahead of the Curve”. Dell EMC. Retrieved 17 February 2017.
4. “Importance of Database Backup for Businesses”. BusinessBlogs. Retrieved 17 February 2017.
5. “IT Disaster Recovery Plan”. Ready.Gov. Retrieved 17 February 2017.
6. Griffith, Eric (24 March 2016). “The Beginner’s Guide to PC Backup”. PC Mag. Retrieved 17 February 2017.
7. Stanek, William R. “Data Backup and Recovery”. MSDN Library. Retrieved 17 February 2017.
8. Johnston, Lisa (3 September 2016). “5 Ways to Back up Your Data”. Lifewire. Retrieved 17 February 2017.

About the author:

N. Preston is the communications specialist at EnduraData.

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Data backup: Protect your data before it is too late. was last modified: February 8th, 2018 by Nicole P.