Backup Methods for Home Office and Small Business

"What is the best way to backup my data?" I occasionally get this question when discussing backup and recovery issues with clients. What a great question! The answer is "it depends." (I know someone who answers every question like that.) In this case, a simple answer cannot be given without some additional information. The fact is that a single backup method or technology is rarely appropriate for a person or company.

Most of us have multiple types of data that potentially require different backup strategies. The first thing we have to do is determine what data needs to be backed up. If your computer or office were completely destroyed and you had to get new equipment. What would you want restored to the new equipment?

Once you have an inventory of your data that needs to be backed up, the next step is to classify the data according to how quickly you need to be able to recover it, and how current the backup data needs to be. The answers to these questions are directly related to the amount of pain that would be caused in case of a temporary or permanent loss of the data. This categorization will relate to which backup methods are most appropriate.

  • For letters, spreadsheets, digital photos, and other documents; I recommend online backup methods. Online backup services will backup these files and get them offsite quickly efficiently and frequently.
  • For large collections of MP3 files or video files; backing up to portable disk drives and physically keeping a copy offsite is effective. This is assuming that these files are not critical to your business and they don't change frequently.
  • For software; making copies of your installation media and maintaining copies in an offsite location is usually appropriate.
  • For databases; it depends on the size and frequency of changes. In most cases online backup services are the best option.

The above recommendations are intended to be examples for home computer owners and small business computing. There are other questions, answers, and situations that must be considered in the process of ensuring appropriate backup procedures. If you are not an expert then maybe this information will give you some direction in selecting the backup strategies appropriate for your data and circumstances.

1 comment:

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