Every one of us has had the experience of losing our work. This can be just a minor irritation, like forgetting to save a document and losing an hour’s work. It can be more serious, like when you overwrite an important document because you forgot to change the filename before saving. Or it can be catastrophic, when your computer crashes and you lose everything – business documents, family photos, your music collection, financial records… When that happens, it’s heartbreaking for home users and potentially devastating for businesses.
But of course, you keep a regular backup, don’t you?
But as we always tell our clients, if you’re not backed up twice, you’re not backed up.
The need for offsite backup…
Copying your data onto a local hard drive is a great start. It’s quick and easy to recover, and it’s accessible when you need it. But consider this – what if something happened to your home or office? Fire, flood, hurricane damage, or burglary could all result in you losing your computer and your backup.
The answer is simple. Keep a second copy of your data in a safe place, well away from your main computer. You’re cutting your risk dramatically. If you want to stick with just disk backups, you can keep your backup disk at a friend’s house – provided you trust them with your data, of course!
Nowadays, cloud storage systems offer an easier alternative. Save your data on a remote server, and you can rest secure in the knowledge that whatever happens to your computer, you can retrieve your data at any time.
And more offsite backup…
If you want to be really, really secure, think about having a second offsite backup. It’s highly unlikely, but it is possible for someone to hack into your cloud storage and delete all your data. And while you’re probably safe if you’re using a major service like Google, Dropbox, SkyDrive or Carbonite, there’s always a risk that your cloud storage provider could go offline. They take extraordinary care to keep backups of backups, but you never know if they’re going to be forced out of business, especially if they’re offering a free service.
Famously, Megaupload was taken offline in 2012 by the US Department of Justice, following allegations that they were hosting copyrighted material on their servers. There’s no question that there was pirated material on their servers, but as a result of the takedown, many innocent people lost vast amounts of perfectly legitimate data.
Cloud storage providers rarely offer any kind of guarantee, so it may be worth considering having a second provider, just in case.
That may sound excessive, but when you’ve worked with computers for long enough, you’ll come to realize that sooner or later, disaster will happen. Being extra prepared can’t hurt.