Why data backup has become a “no brainer”

Every home and business should have a backup plan for, at least, their most important computer data. As a technician, I talk to so many customers who are panicked because a hard drive crash or operating system crash has jeopardized their important data. Sometimes I can help them. Other times there is nothing that I can do for them.

Once upon a time it was costly and cumbersome to backup data. Tape backups were slow. Having to remember to constantly switch tapes was an inconvenience. Combine these factors with the high price tag, usually several hundred dollars for a tape backup and a set of tapes, most consumers (and many businesses) rolled the dice and opted NOT to back up their important data.

Today there are multiple ways for one to affordably back up their important files.

  • Flash drives that are adequate for backing up small amounts of data. Flash drives also make it easy to carry data from one computer to another. The negatives are that they hold a relatively small amount of data and that files generally need to be copied manually.
  • External hard drives allow you back up large amounts of data. Like tape backup systems before them, most external hard drives come with backup programs that allow you to set a backup and forget it. The negatives are that an external drive can be stolen very easily and could be destroyed in a fire or other disaster.
  • Cloud backup, also known as online backup, allows you to back up your data offsite on a secure server. Online backup gives you all of the benefits of an external backup drive and adds the benefit that your data is protected in case of a disaster where you work or live. The one negative is that, instead of a one time purchase, you pay a yearly or monthly fee.

Because all of the solutions above are very user friendly and inexpensive, combined with the fact that computers are used to store most of our important information,  it has become a “no brainer” for every business and every computer user to have some form of backup. So many users do not understand that their computer hard drive can fail at any moment, often without warning. Hard drives have both electrical and mechanical components to them that can be prone to failure. Often times lost data cannot be retrieved without paying a data recovery company hundreds or thousands of dollars and, even then, there is no guarantee you will get all of your data. So….are you backing up your data?

My recommendation, in most cases, is a blended approach.

  • I recommend that your most sensitive and important data be backed up somewhere where it won’t be lost, misplaced or destroyed if something should happen to your business or home. This data may include important financial data, priceless digital pictures, important documents, important emails, etc. This small subset of critical data, in most cases, can be backed up online for a nominal yearly cost.
  • Data that you want protected, but that is not mission critical, can be backed up very inexpensively to an external hard drive. For example, music and video files are large files. To back up all of your music and videos online could be both expensive and impractical. An external backup drive would be a much better candidate for those files.

If you do not have a backup plan or if you have questions about your current backup plan, feel free to call us before your important data is in jeopardy.

Les Hamlett

Covenant Computers’ etc

13 Bear Hill Rd

Newton, NH  03858

(603)382-5651 / (978)372-7113


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