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How to Back up important data
Published  06/13/2011 | Security | Unrated
How to Back up important data

How about if a fire or storm destroys your computer physically? There’s also always the risk of data theft. With information becoming more valuable, backing up important data has become vital (according to a Global Backup Survey, 66 per cent of internet users have suffered from serious data loss). Backup involves making copies of the original data for primarily two situations: Firstly to restore a state following a disaster. The second is to restore a small number of files either accidentally deleted or corrupted – this utilises lesser storage space and keeps efficient track of changes in the data.

There are several means by which one may back up data. Storage media such as external hard disk drives, solid state storage (which includes USB flash drives, thumb drives, etc) and optical discs are usually employed. The last is especially a popular option, especially thanks to the advent of Blu- ray discs that can hold up to 50 GB of data. For writing information to discs, the best software is Nero. It supports all CDs, single- and dual-layer DVDs and now Blu-ray discs. Nero also helpfully indicates how much space the selected files are occupying, especially when it goes over the writable limit. Nero also support multi-session discs for when files are to be added later. Nero Burning Rom is the latest release and the commercial trial can be easily located online.

When dealing with large amounts of data, it becomes important to compress it. This facilitates faster storage and copying speeds, along with fully maximizing any available space. Compression is commonly carried out using WinRAR, wherein the data is stored within archives. Most people would use WinZip but WinRAR supports a wider range of formats, including ZIP files. WinRAR is especially versatile in deciding the compression methods, splitting the info into separate archives of specified sizes (helpfully classified into different categories like DVD5, DVD9, CD, etc) and password protecting archives. It can consistently produce smaller archives than its nearest competition, and supports files/
archives of up to 8589 billion GB in size.

Remember the following points: The more important the data, the greater the need for a backup solution. Chalk out a proper restore strategy, since restoring data through backup can be as taxing as storage. In this case, automated backup and scheduling should be considered. Like regular virus scans, it’s easy to forget backing up data or leaving it for another day. Do not store the backup close to the original data. Fires, rain and electrical surges would likely damage both at the same time. Try storing the backups in an off-site location.

Even if secured properly, backups are not infallible. Verification or monitoring strategies are important for keeping track of the backup’s lifeline.

Store backed up archives in open/standard formats. This helps with recovery in the future when the software used to make the backup is obsolete. This allows different software to be used.

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