Why back up your data?

Do you need to back up your computer data? The short answer has got to be a definite ‘YES’. Let us have a look at some of the reasons why.

Firstly there are what one might describe as ‘ultimate’ threats such as fire and theft. To lose one’s home or business through fire, whilst still a measurable threat, is nevertheless a very rare event that is never going to happen to the vast majority of us. To fall victim to theft, whist still an uncommon event, is something that probably affects most of us at least once in a lifetime.

If however you are a regular computer user, then the loss of data due to computer related problems almost certainly will happen to you at some point. This might take the form of a hardware failure, malware attack or the accidental deletion or corruption of files. I’ve seen tragic cases over the years, such as a whole family losing years of work including the children’s school work, simply because the hard drive failed and there was no backup. This sort of thing is simply a threat that cannot be ignored.

How do you go about backing up your data? The modern trend is to now use a cloud based online backup service. These facilities can be very easy to use and can run in the background without any regular intervention by the user. For some small home users, this solution might be fine, but if you are a serious computer user, then you seriously need to consider the implications of entrusting your data to a third party alone. As a serious user, your computer data is possibly one of the most valuable material assets that you own.

Here are some implications of using a third-party backup service. The risks might all be very small, but they may be enough to discourage you from using online backup as your sole source of backed up data.

  • Security. All good quality online backup services will take security very seriously, but even so there is a slight risk of your data being hacked or compromised. Having said that however, your own computers and backup discs could just as easily be stolen in a burglary! This makes it a bit of a ‘swings and roundabouts’ situation and perhaps you just need to decide what gives you the most peace of mind.
  • We live in a volatile world economy where businesses are collapsing daily. What if your backup service goes bankrupt?
  • What if the online backup service or your internet connection experiences a technical failure just when you need to restore a backed up item?
  • What if something goes wrong with your relationship with your service provider? I say this from bitter experience. I was once using a particular web hosting company, something went wrong and they treated me very badly when I tried to rectify the problem. By the end of the next working day I was taking my business elsewhere!

What I want to say from this is basically that if you are a serious user, then you would be well advised to keep backups in your own possession and under your own control, be this instead of or in addition to using an online backup service. Considering the ultimate threats such as fire and theft, it is also very wise to always keep a copy of your backup off-site in a second location.

How you actually perform and store your backups in practice depends entirely upon your particular needs and requirements, and I’m more than happy to discuss it in more detail with you if you are interested.