TWEAK ALL CONSULTANTS
"Relax, we'll make it OK!"
BACKUP COMPUTER PEACE OF MIND, PART 1"
Computer Backup is your insurance policy against Halloween trick or treats and other disasters. Has your computer tricked you or treated you? If tricked, everything depends on your computer backup or lack thereof.
Computer Backup is the key to your peace of mind regarding the preservation of your financial, personal and business files. This is Part 1 of a Computer Backup two part series. Part 2 is located at Backup Computer XP.
Computer Backup may save you the hundreds or thousands of dollars it will take to recreate the lost data and to reinstall programs (applications), the Windows or Macintosh Operating System, Email and the many special program settings.
You never really realize how much is lost until you fire up that key program and it does not work the way it used to. Worse you may have lost that key program and its files.
Industry statistics tell us that it is not a matter of IF but WHEN your computer hard drive will fail. Therefore, computer backup is critical.
After a rather arresting situation in which in client declined what I thought was a reasonable solution to his backup computer problem, I decided that it was time to write more about hard drive backup.
The situation was arresting because so many other clients had immediately ordered and I had installed the same backup computer package after it was presented to them. This client decided to play computer “Russian Roulette”, fly “without a net” and just gamble that all would be OK.
This was even after just paying over $5000.00 to recover from a virus induced hard drive malfunction because he had no computer backup. You may read this story in Parts 1 and 2 of my articles, AOL Doesn’t Protect You From Spyware and Viruses.
WHAT IS HARD DRIVE COMPUTER BACKUP?
Backup of the hard drive is the duplication of all or part everything that is on the your computer to another media like external hard drive, DVD or CD, backup to Zip Disk or backup to another computer over a network.
WHY IS COMPUTER BACKUP SO IMPORTANT?
Why do computer backup? Like the financial files for your business or home, some files are simply irreplaceable. Regular backups ensure you don't lose such files. But most files could be recreated given an unlimited budget for time and effort.
Consider just how much time, money, and effort it would take to recover a system whose files were destroyed by mechanical failure, a virus attack, or user error.
Also consider how much money you would lose simply because of downtime. A major purpose of back up is to avoid such expenses. This is important to remember, since a strategy that costs too much time or money to implement may be counterproductive and therefore people will not perform computer backup.
WHAT TO BACKUP
With today's immense drives, reinstalling a modern operating system is quite a time and labor intensive job, not to mention reinstalling and configuring dozens of applications.
Unfortunately, computer users really don't understand just how labor intensive it is to restore a system from scratch without a full computer backup of the hard drive.
Such a job could easily take all or most of a work day or more depending on the density of applications, data, peripheral devices and the cause of the original hard drive crash.
The cost could be from $600 to a $1200 to do a full restore by your friendly computer consultant. Most computer users say that they could buy a new computer for that price. They are right. However they do not consider that the new computer would have nothing more than the Windows or Macintosh Operating System on it.
This means that someone will still have to reinstall EVERYTHING on that new computer. Without a computer backup, you are "up the creek without a paddle" insofar as your records and files are concerned.
Even if you wanted to perform backup of only data files, they may not all be in one handy location.
Perhaps your computer is used only for Web research and e-mail. You'd still find it frustrating to lose all your bookmarks, cookies, settings, and e-mail addresses.
Configuration settings for your applications are scattered in proprietary files, INI (initial or initialization) files, and the Registry.
Remaining are programs, drivers for hardware devices like printers and scanners, your data files (Word, Excel, financial, custom programs) and sometimes much more.
Is the importance of backup starting to dawn on you yet? I hope so, because that is one of the purposes of this article.
The simplest computer backup strategy is to back up everything, and simplicity is essential.
HOW TO PERFORM COMPUTER BACKUP
How do I back up all this stuff?
BACKUP TO EXTERNAL HARD DRIVE
Such portable drives can be quickly removed in an event of an emergency and may easily contain your entire business or home computing life. One such portable, external drive can be kept near the computer or server and one can be kept offsite. They can be rotated to keep them current.
Hard drive prices have dropped so much that two or even three external hard drives are within the range of most businesses and home computer owners.
even when away from the office or home you have a computer backup solution.
Check out our article on this by clicking here ==> laptop
Did you get the implication about DVD's? One DVD-R/RW may be able to backup everything on your hard drive. DVD-RW's could be marked for each day week (Monday, Tuesday and so forth) and rotated.
COMPUTER BACKUP SERVICES
Of course, in the event of data loss, you must able to access the Internet to restore your data. Restoring Internet access may complicate and delay the restoration of all your data.
Another issue is data privacy. Even with encryption, do you really want you data in the hands of another company online?
Computer backup to online services is very slow even with DSL. If you have dial-up then this is probably not an good option for you. Consumer DSL or cable is speedy on downloads, but relatively slow on uploads. You are dependent on the slower upload speed for online backup.
However as both September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and Hurricane Katrina in August 2005 demonstrated, online backup could be a data and business lifesaver.
Online data backup also solves the problem of "who will rotate the backup media to an offsite location"? It also solves the problem of where to put the offsite backup sets.
Lastly, online computer backup can be expensive. Prices range from $20.00 to $100 a month and more depending on the amount of data storage and backup you require.
Recently more affordable online backup services have become available. More on that in a pending article. In the meantime check out my initial expressions here ==> Online Data Backup and Storage
If you opt for removable media, choose a type that's large enough to hold one entire backup. That may mean tape, since modern tapes can hold 120 gigabytes or more. Tape autoloaders automate the process of backing up to multiple tapes, but they're quite expensive. Moreover tape backup is slow.
WHEN SHOULD I PERFORM COMPUTER BACKUP?
So what's the best time for me to do my computer backup? You should back up your data every day that you work on your computer. A business that's open on weekdays should back up at the end of each weekday, for example. If a virus wipes out data on a Wednesday, you can restore Tuesday's backup and lose no more than a day's work.
But what if the backup files are also infected? What if the virus actually entered the system last month? A backup strategy with depth will also retain older backups at specified intervals. Backup administrators have devised strategies that rotate backup sets on a schedule that provides depth while balancing other needs that we'll discuss later.
All but the simplest rotation strategies require the attention of a dedicated backup administrator. Therefore keep it simple.
Some computer backup systems can operate in the background while the computer is in use. Others must run at the end of the day, when regular work has ceased.
Some drive-imaging solutions actually require the computer to restart in order to back up. You'll need to consider these time factors when devising your computer backup strategy.
BACKUP COMPUTER SUMMARY
So far we’ve discussed the What, Why, How, and the When of computer backup. In part 2 of this series Backup Computer XP, we will discuss the Where, Who, Types and look at some of the best computer backup software. If you'd can't wait and need a quick and easy backup solution right now, read Computer Backup, our review of PC BackUp.
For right now, rush on over to Computer Backup Part 2 of this two part series to learn more about your computer insurance policy, Computer Backup.