Both individuals and businesses that use computers should perform regular data backups to prevent catastrophic data loss. If backups are not made on a certain schedule, then it must be considered that any data could be lost at any time. This can range from a minor annoyance for someone that lost their shopping list, to a huge loss in profit for a large corporation or small business.
Aside from the money spent on data recovery, the time involved in the recovery can amount to thousands in lost sales and customers who leave due to interruption of service.
There are several ways to make backups, and which one you use depends on the usage of the computers. For a person at home that wants to backup their documents, pictures, and other personal files, using a USB flash drive or a DVD burner to make occasional second copies will work just fine.
One way which has become more popular recently with the advent of broadband in almost all homes, is using an online data backup service to make copies of key files. These servers use SSL encryption to make sure the data being transferred is safe. Use of an online service like this is advantageous to having hard copies around the house because there is nothing to lose, nothing to damage, and in case of a disaster, the data is still secure at another location.
While simple methods such as DVDs and file servers work well for the average home user, a business with more serious data usage likewise needs more serious data backup solutions. DVD copies and online servers can still be used, but a regular schedule must be created to ensure that all files are secure. Additionally, an off-site storage location should be chosen to prevent a loss of all computers and backups at the same time.
In order to prevent simple hard drive failures from causing a catastrophe, RAID arrays may be used. RAID stands for Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks, and can be used to make instant mirror copies of hard drives, ensuring that if one tanks the recovery is as simple as possible.
One final solution that may be used by some larger businesses is an independent backup server that is owned and controlled 100% by the business. This allows for a complete copy of all hard disks, which makes cleanup as simple as ghosting the hard disk image back onto a new drive. This means that a business can get up and running extremely quickly after a disaster.
The decision to make regular backups is a simple one. If backups are not made, catastrophe can happen, dealing a devastating blow to any business or individual due to loss of customer contact information, school reports, and financial records. Once lost, this data can be extremely expensive to recover. By using any method of backup, risks of data loss are greatly reduced. With a comprehensive data backup plan, even the most horrible of incidents can leave a business with everything well intact.