Data Backup Solution: Why You Need a Backup Plan in Place - Part 2

In the first part of this article series, I talked about the three main threats to the data on your computer. I talked about the need for a data backup solution that protects your data properly. In this article, I'll outline the most common data backup solution options available to you.

A simple data backup solution

A simple way to backup your data is to save everything to CD. By burning your vital information to a CD-ROM, you can have another copy of your data if something goes wrong with your computer. Burning your data to a CD-ROM will provide rudimentary data backup protection. There are some problems with this approach however.

Burning your files regularly to CD requires human intervention and effort. It isn't automatic. You have to take time out of your schedule to do it. People get busy, things happen and before you know it, you haven't done a data backup in over a month then BAM! Your data is lost.

The second major threat to using CD's as your data backup solution is that there are limitations to CD media. The first is that they won't survive a fire. If your place or office burns down and you've stored your CD's on site, your data is gone too. The second problem with CD media is that the media itself degrades over time. A recent study found that even CD's that were advertised to last for 100 years were loosing data after just two or three years.

Burning your data to CD is certainly much better than doing nothing but it has limitations.

Saving Data to a Web Server

With the advent of inexpensive online data storage options, it is now possible to archive your most crucial data online. This option potentially protects you from theft and it is an off site option so it protects you from fire. The only way theft could risk your data is if your computers are not password protected by default and you choose to save all your passwords automatically in your applications. If this is the case, someone who gains physical access to your computers could certainly gain access to your data. This issue aside, saving your files to a web server is certainly an option.

The limitation to this data backup solution usually revolves around the cost for the web server storage. While it is usually cost effective for up to 2 GB of data, it isn't appropriate for backing up an entire hard drive worth of data.

In House Hardware Data Backup Solutions

Another data backup solution is to equip your computers with RAID compatible motherboards and install multiple hard drives in each computer. This option protects your computers from hard drive crashes. It will usually require the services of a computer hardware technician to setup. Done properly, it can pretty much protect you from all hardware failure type data loss.

This solution doesn't usually protect you from theft as the extra hard drives for RAID storage are usually installed in your computer or in other equipment on site. It usually won't protect you from fire either so this method does have its limitations.

Use a combination of all three data backup solutions

For maximum protection, you should consider using a combination of all three data backup solutions for maximum protection. Burn critical documents to CD on a regular basis. Get a web hosting account with lots of storage and upload critical files to the web server. With this option however, keep in mind that unless the data is encrypted on your end, an administrator of the web server could potentially access all your data.

Finally, along with burning a CD and using an off site web server, get a qualified computer technician to install a RAID system in your computer systems. If cost is an issue, get at least one of your computers installed with a RAID capable hard drive and at least one other hard drive.

Using these three data backup solutions, you will minimize the risk to your data and to your livelihood.