Is Your Data Backed Up? Why Not?


This article is more for the home or SOHO user.  Or even the small business with no email or databases in house.  First, some insight to this article.  EVERYONE NEEDS A BACKUP PLAN!! We cannot stress this enough.   It doesn’t matter if it is JUST your home computer as there are probably irreplacable pictures on your pc that if lost will not make for a happy person.  It’s not a question of will you lose your data – it’s when!

Some Quick Facts
The average failure rate of disk and tape drives is 100% – ALL DRIVES WILL EVENTUALLY FAIL.

Only 34% of companies test their tape backups, and of those who do, 77% have found failures.

60% of companies that lose their data will go out of business within 6 months of the disaster.

Over 1/2 of critical corporate data resides on unprotected PC desktops and laptops.

Key causes for data loss are:
78% Hardware or system malfunction
11% Human error
7% Software corruption or program malfunction
2% Computer viruses
1% Natural disasters
1% Other

Only 25% of users frequently back up their files, yet 85% of those same users say they are very concerned about losing important digital data.

More than 22% said backing up their PCs was on their to-do list, but they seldom do it.

1 in 25 notebooks are stolen, broken or destroyed each year.

Today’s hard drives store 500 times the data stored on the drives of a decade ago. This increased capacity amplifies the impact of data loss, making mechanical precision more critical.

You have a 30% chance of having a corrupted file within a one-year time frame.
*Source: VaultLogix

There you have it!  GET A BACKUP SOLUTION NOW! Ok, you say you backup to a USB drive or stick.  That’s a good start.  What if your house catches fire, or a flood, or tornado, etc?  Are you grabbing your backups on the way out the door?  Probably not the first thing on your mind.  Online backups solve this problem by putting your data outside of your home/business automatically with no user intervention.   You select the files or folders or the whole computer and it will backup at your schedule.   They don’t backup everything every time.  Most software these days do “in-file delta” and incremental backups.  What does this mean? When you make changes to files the software compares what you already have backed up and the changes and only backs up the changes.  Which makes the backup run quicker.  The incremental backup only changes files that have changed since the last backup.  Again, making your backups more efficient.

The other feature that most companies have is “versioning”.  Versioning is the ability to store x number of changes to the backup.  So, why is this important?

How about an example:  You create a file called Z.txt.  It gets backed up on Jan 3rd.  You make some changes to Z.txt on Jan 15th.  It gets backed up that nite.  On Feb 1 you make a few more changes to Z.txt.  It gets backed up that nite.  Now technically you have 3 different versions of the file Z.txt backed up.  On Feb 8 you realize you had the file all wrong and the one you created on Jan 3rd is actually the one you want.  Well, it is gone from your computer because you have been making changes to it.  All is not lost.  You can actually go back to that first “version” of the file because your software allows up to 5 versions to be saved.  Lucky for you!

“Ok, oK, I’ve got it.  I need a backup, but they are expensive!”  Not for basic file backup they aren’t.  There are several companies that do unlimited backup space for around $60 a year.  It doesn’t matter which one you use.  Here are a couple recommendations but htere are more:
Carbonite.com, Backblaze.com, Mozy.com.  All of these work with Windows and Mac.  If you want a Linux solution try Jungledisk.com.  JungleDisk.com is not unlimited but, at .15 per Gig, it is pretty cheap.

Now, a word about your external drives.  Backblaze is the only one that will backup your external drive without using tricks that are beyond most home users. So if you have external drives you need backed up, you only have one choice.

How about my small business server?  Unfortunately you will need to spend a little more money on this, but it is still cheap in comparison to losing your data.  The above programs will not backup your SQL databases, or your Exchange email server accounts.  But for less than $300 a year you should be able to get everything backed up safely.  We use a product for our clients from MidwestBackup.net.  Price is determined by how much data you store but it is still cheaper than a years worth of tape backups done correctly that, as stated above, have a 77% chance of not working.

So, go get started on backing up your data now!  It’s cheap, and you have a lot to lose!