This post was prompted by the unfortunate incident that happened in Strasbourg at the OVH data centre on March 10 of this year. Just like many other people and the company I work at, I use this provider for storing my data. Unlike many other people, and unlike my company, I did not back it up. I still have hope that there’s a chance for me to restore it. However, I’ve also completely accepted the possibility of it being gone for good. So, with the fresh feeling of loss in mind, here’re my thoughts on the importance of backing up your data.
Surely, we all accumulate digital data throughout our lives. Whether it’s photos from family vacations, university papers, pages of the book you’re writing or a lifetime worth of work documents, you probably have files on your devices that are too valuable to lose.
It is no surprise that the best prevention of data loss is backup. It is so important that there’s even a day dedicated to it, World Backup Day. In 3 weeks from now, on March 31, devote a couple of hours to backing up your important data. This would be a great way to celebrate this day with the rest of the world.
What is data backup
Essentially, a data backup is a copy or an archive of files that are stored on a different device and is used to restore the originals in the event of data loss. It is the easiest way of protecting your data and keeping it safe.
Nothing lasts forever, and neither do your devices. Backing up your data will protect it in case your laptop or phone dies without the ability to restore the files. There’re plenty of other scenarios like user error, corrupt files, or a physical disaster that render important data inaccessible.
How to protect your digital data
Among the most common threats to your data, there are viruses and hackers. According to the University of Maryland, hackers attack every 39 seconds on average. To put a barrier between your device and possible viruses and attacks, make sure to install trustworthy antivirus software and update it regularly. It is one of the best ways of protecting your digital data from possible attacks.
How to backup data
To protect your data from physical disasters, create backups of critical data. You can keep them online using cloud services or send a physical copy to a remote location. Among the best ways of backing up your data are external hard drives, tape backup, hardware appliances, online file storages, clouds and cloud backup services. Creating multiple copies will ensure even more safety in case of an incident.
How often should you create backups?
The frequency of your backups is individual but we would recommend sticking to at least a weekly schedule. In cases with software development and frequently changing business data, you could even back it up hourly. However, if you use your devices rarely, a monthly backup wouldn’t be a bad idea either. Try to assess the volume of your data, its importance and the frequency of its updates to chose a plan and a schedule for your backups.
As we’ve seen so many times, including today, things happen. No one is safe from the unexpected fire, flood or a stolen phone. If you have any important data – and I’m sure you do – think about ways of keeping it safe. In the case of data loss, prevention is not the best treatment, it is the only treatment.