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In the famous words of Joni Mitchell, you don't know what you've got until it's gone. Unfortunately for many home computer customers, not having a reliable data backup solution is a painful lesson to learn. As we all become increasingly dependent on our digital files, having a copy, or multiple copies, of those files is a crucial element of keeping your data safe. The data on your computer or mobile device can disappear in an instant - succumbing to accidental deletion, corruption, malware encryption or theft. The best way to prepare for a data disaster event is to make sure that you have a workable, reliable and verifiable backup solution in place.
A Workable Backup Solution
The first thing that you need to do when considering backing up your data is to find a solution which works for you. People use their computing devices differently, and therefore a backup solution should work with your computing experience. Are you the type of person who prefers to control exactly when you backup your data or would you rather "set it and forget it"? Do you prefer having your data close by, say on an external hard drive, or would you rather have it available 24x7 via the Internet? Does your data reside on just one computer or on multiple devices? Answers to these questions will help you decide on the best backup solution for your situation.
4 Key Elements that Every Backup Scheme Should Have
Your backup needs to be automatic. Life is too busy for most of us to consistently remember to start backing up our data. Most backup software and services, though, can be scheduled to start automatically. Some programs even backup instantly every time a file is added or changed. Don't let it be your job to remember to plug in a storage device or to kick off a backup routine. Let your chosen solution take care of that work for you.
Your backup should be verifiable. Many people have a backup plan in place, but unfortunately not many have a restore plan in place. If you are not sure whether or not you can successfully recover the files that you have supposedly backed up, then you don't have a backup plan! Part of your backup routine needs to be periodic testing to make sure your backups are valid. This may be doing something as simple as restoring one of your files or folders to an alternate location on your computer. If you can regularly successfully restore files from your backup when you don't necessarily need them, then chances are better that you will be able to restore them when you do need them.
Your backup should Include versioning. It may not be enough to have just one copy of each of your files. As many who have been hit by the Cryptolocker infection have discovered, backup solutions which don't keep multiple copies of files as they are changed are susceptible to being overwritten by malware. Therefore, it is important that your backup solution allows you to restore copies of your files from various points in time in the past.
Your backup should be secure. Do you keep thousands of dollars under your mattress because you feel it's more secure than keeping your money in a bank? Many people follow a similar strategy when it comes to protecting their data. Don't assume that your data is secure just because you have a copy of it on an external hard drive attached to your computer. Hard drives can fail at any moment, can be stolen or can fall victim to a virus or a power surge. However, cloud-based backup solutions are, for the most part, much more secure than onsite backups. Most offsite backup solution providers keep their customers' data in tier 1 data facilities with multiple levels of security controls, encryption, environmental protection and co-location. It is safe to say that your data is better protected in one of these "data banks" than under the proverbial mattress in your home.
Backup Solutions that We Recommend
PC Tech for Hire has two different backup solutions that we recommend. We offer two solutions because each of them is able to cater to the different backup needs of our customers. The first solution that we offer is Backblaze. This backup company has been in the business longer than most of the others, and it has a reputation for simple, affordable backup services for residential customers. Backblaze's user interface is very easy to understand, and customers are able to determine whether or not their data is secure just by looking at the file names on their computers. Backblaze offers unlimited backup for your home computer for just $50.00 per year, or for $5.00 per month.
The second backup solution that we offer is a solution which offers local backup, versioning and fully encrypted backups locally and in the cloud. While the cost per gigabyte is more than Backblaze, my ProActive Care - Backup service allows you to protect multiple computers under the same plan. Therefore, if you are a household with 1-5 computers, this backup solution would probably work better for you and would be cheaper in the long run than Backblaze. Furthermore, ProActive Care - Backup is monitored regularly. That is, we will take on the responsibility of making sure that your devices are being backed up and that your data is able to be restored when needed. The cost for ProActive Care - Backup is $9.00 a month for 10gb of data, and $99.00 for an annual subscription. Larger blocks of data are available if 10gb is not enough. Contact PC Tech for Hire for a custom quote.
Both of these backup solutions provide automatic, scheduled backups to a secured data center, easy restoration procedures, versioning and 24x7 access to your files from anywhere via the internet.
Making sure that your data is backed up securely is not a difficult task in today's world. However, it does take a bit of planning and initiative on the front end. However, when a data disaster strikes, you will be glad and grateful that you have a solution in place.
Hi! I'm Ronnie, your PC Tech for Hire for the Montgomery, AL area! Let me know if you need my 25+ years of experience to help you with your computer needs.