The single most requested service I perform is data retrieval. It seems to be that very few of us back up on a regular basis. It is extremely important that you have some type of external hard drive connected to all of your computers. Every single hard drive will fail at some point. And you can be assured it will do that at the worst possible moment taking with it the most important critical data you have ever needed. Just about everyone learns this lesson the hard way, by having a drive fail. It’s at this point that I get a phone call from a very desperate voice hoping I can preform a miracle. Here are some things that you can do to prevent that. It doesn’t take much technical skill and doesn’t cost a lot of money. There are several different types of options available to accomplish your backup.
The first and simplest is to buy an external hard drive. I recommend you purchase at least a 1 TB powered drive. What I mean by powered, is that it requires a power plug to the wall. These types of units are much more reliable than the smaller USB powered portable units. Keep the unit plugged into your desktop computer and follow my instructions on how to set up your automatic backup system listed in an earlier blog. For less than $100 you will have peace of mind. This part is very very important. It is only a backup, if you have at least two copies. That means you cannot just keep all your pictures and music on the external drive and be backed up. Remember all hard drives fail including external drives. By using my backup method you will have copies on both your computer and your external drive. This type of setup, works well if you are a single computer user. The next option for backup will be better suited for homes with multiple computers. It will allow each of them to be backed up without having an external drive for each of them.
Network attached storage referred to as NAS drives make it extremely simple to backup multiple computers. Instead of the external drive being attached to one computer, it connects into your router. This allows the drive to be seen on all your computers. There are several different types of NAS drives. You can buy them as a self-contained unit including the hard drive, or as an enclosure unit where you add your hard drive. Once you have your NAS setup in place, you simply direct your backups to it. One of the many benefits of this arrangement, is it allows you to have access pictures, music and movies. This is a much easier set up than doing a network share from a specific computer. The two types of arrangements I have described here are sufficient for noncritical data. If you consider some of your data to be critical, such as baby pictures, a book you’re writing, or important financial information I strongly recommend an additional backup method.
In the event of a catastrophic event you will want that data in a different location. For your pictures and you have lots of options. You can upload them to Facebook or Flickr for free. If you do a search on free cloud storage, you will find lots of options that allow the storage of all types of files. It is becoming very popular to use services such as Mozy or Carbonite for your cloud backup. For business’s I recommend Nordic. These types of services work automatically in the background backing up your files. They cost a few dollars a month and can give some real peace of mind. The downside to this time of service, is in the retrieval. It can take several days if not weeks or even months, depending on how much information you have, to get it back. Getting a backup system in place is critical, you really don’t want to be one of the unlucky ones crying in my office about how your first child’s birthing video is gone.
Please feel free to get in touch to ask questions or have me take care of the service for you. It is money well spent and is a requirement in today’s digital age.