Why should I back up my data?

While today's computers and components are far more reliable than a few years ago, components still fail. This alone should be the primary reason to perform backups. But in today’s world, even worse than computer or component failure is the threat of viruses and malicious software (called malware). Many companies have been infected with ransomware or cryptoware, software that encrypts your information and holds it for ransom. If you want to see your information again, pay up or else!

Some companies have paid tens of thousands of dollars to receive a “key” to unlock their information.  Others have paid and received nothing!  A simple backup could have prevented this!

Having a backup is like an insurance policy. Should anything catastrophic occur, you’re protected!

When should back ups be performed?

A general rule of thumb is to perform a backup for every day the business is open. Some businesses backup once a week, but is the exception, not the rule. It all depends on your business and what you're willing to lose. Typically the backup is done at the end of every day but may be done at any time it doesn't interfere with running the business. 

What type of backup plan should be implemented?

There are several types of plans that can be implemented and we strongly suggest using several for complete coverage. A full image backup will create and save a mirror image of your computer’s software, including the operating system. This type of backup may take several hours to compete and may be very large in size. We usually recommend this type of backup is done once a month and combined with the selective backup.

A selective backup will only save files and folders chosen by the user. This doesn’t take as long as a full image backup nor is it as large but does take some time to complete. This type of backup should be performed every day, at the end of the day.

An incremental backup will make one full backup initially then only create a backup of what was changed. This is the quickest type of backup but you will need the full backup along with the incremental backup to do a complete system restore. Backup programs that use the internet typically use this type of backup.

What makes all of the above easier is a backup program. Most backup programs can be store-bought and programed to run automatically from your computer. You buy the backup software once. All you do is change the media that holds your data. But that's the draw-back; you must remember to change the media and put it in a safe location.

Another type of backup program uses the web (or internet). This type of backup program is installed on your computer and uses your internet connection to backup your data to another computer somewhere on the web. This type of backup is completely unattended without the need to change media. The draw backup is the monthly or yearly fee paid to use this service.

What type of backup device should I purchase?

Most new computers include an internal CD/DVD burner. You'll also need to purchase discs as well. Compact discs(cd) have a capacity of around 600 MB with digital video discs (DVD) at about 4 GB. Look for discs that have the read/write symbol "R/W" on them. These type of discs can be reused.

Flash drives (or USB flash memory) are the easiest to handle and store and come in capacities much great that DVDs. Similar to the external hard drive, this device requires an open USB port.

An external hard drive is desirable due to its large capacity (one terrabyte or more). This is especially useful if you are backing up multiple computers.

Web based backups are easy since they are unattended and you only need to make sure the computer is on with an active internet connection.