It’s World Backup Day on March 31st, do you know where your files are?
In the IT world, Backup Day inspires a lot of water cooler talk about how to backup, when to backup, how many backups you need, and, of course, when are we bringing backup back?
However, backup isn’t just important in the IT stratosphere. Having reliable backup files is a time and money saving necessity for both home and business users that can’t be ignored. To celebrate World Backup Day, inspire everyone to get on top of their backup needs, and to give us a chance to use our cache of backup puns, we’re getting Back in Backup with the experts!
Read what our IT professionals had to say when asked about the big issues of backup.
CompuVision: Is file backup just about files, or is there more to it?
Tyler Brown – Delivery Manager: File backups are your top way to prevent loss. In a digital age, most companies have a great deal of their investment in intellectual property, written content, reports, analytics, etc. Losing these things is the same as losing physical product, possibly even worse because you can’t reorder intellectual property.
CV: How do you get clients to see this importance?
TB: To drive the point home, I ask them the following questions: Where is your business without the data it runs on? Can your business afford extended downtime to recover from a data loss? Upon considering those questions, clients see the ramifications of not protecting their data. Then, I show them how a robust backup solution and data security ensures business continuity and better prepares them for disaster recovery.
CV: Can you remember a file backup disaster that was bad enough to change policy?
Jacquie Gaglione: Oh sure, there have been plenty of instances in the past but the one that really made a difference was the Fort McMurray fire. People usually think of data loss happening because of a technical issue, so they back files up but those backups are still in the same location. When a physical disaster strikes, like a fire, they need something else entirely.
CV: Any other disasters or close calls?
Brett Steele: When working with a new user who had a normal password issue, I helped them reset their password. They then asked for some help learning how to reset their password on their own. I went on to explain that you can press ctrl+alt+del and select “Change a password” to do so. They seemed a bit confused about what I was asking of them and wanted to try it themselves. I then watched in horror as the user pressed “ctrl+a+del” which selected and attempted to delete all files.
Fortunately, I hadn’t quite disconnected from their computer and was able to do a very quick cancel. This happened quite some time ago and I still think about what would have happened if I wasn’t watching her screen!
Stephen Domatas: Well I lost an offline bitcoin wallet that had several thousand bitcoins back when bitcoins were worth less than a penny each. I have done the calculations a few times over the years and the worst-case scenario means that I missed out on potential millions. So, that’s probably a good reason to pay attention to backups.
CV: What should be backed up?
Saul Ansbacher: Everything! Seriously, the low cost of storage these days gives companies and individuals a lot of flexibility. Even if it doesn’t seem important, it’s better to have it than not have it just in case.
CV: When should you backup your files?
SA: Everyday if possible, honestly. Once a week at minimum for important files. Set regular times every day for especially important data so it’s always there backing you up! No one really thinks about backups until they need them, then it’s often too late. Think of them like insurance: you hope you never need to use them, but they’re there when you need them.
CV: How long should backups be kept?
SA: Longer than you think you need them! Again, because storage is so cheap these days, there’s not much point in deleting things in many cases. Someone will always end up asking for older data, so it’s not a bad thing to keep. If you don’t think it’s worth backing up because “it’s just not that important,” try deleting it right now. if you can’t/won’t, then it’s important enough to back up.
CV: What’s the best backup solution or strategy?
SA: The best backup solution will include off-site backups – to the cloud, to another offsite location, or at least out of the server room (in case of fire or flood). Backups themselves are not a Business Continuity Plan (BCP), but they are an important part of an overall BCP. Restores are even more important for a BCP – do they work and how long do they take to get back up and working?
Kevin Hubbard: We go by the rule of 3’s:
- 3 copies of anything you care about – Two isn’t enough if it’s important.
- 2 different formats – Example: Hard Drive+Memory Stick or CD+Crashplan – the more, the better usually.
- 1 off-site backup – If the house burns down, how will you get your memories back?
CV: What about for home users?
SA: For home users Backups are just as important – in this day and age of Ransomware/Cryptolocker you don’t want to be unprotected from infection. Financially speaking, it’s simply cheaper to have backups today rather than pay the ransom to get your data back tomorrow.
Michael Barrie: “Everyone” knows it’s important to backup business data, but far too many people neglect to back up their data at home. They might think it’s too difficult, or not worth the hassle, but as our lives become more and more digital, it’s increasingly important to back up at home. And lucky for us, services like BackBlaze, IDrive, and Carbonite make it super easy and affordable. Go back up your stuff!
CV: What are your recommendations for how to backup for home users?
SA: Every OS includes some kind of Backup Software, but there’s a fantastic FREE one for Windows called Veeam Endpoint Backup Agent for Windows. Endpoint Backup Agent is complete and will let you keep multiple copies, do restores and recoveries, and can be scheduled to run hands-free. There are also inexpensive cloud-backup solutions for home users, such as Mozy – which has a limited free version as well. But good backups don’t cost, they pay for themselves.
CV: What about file hosting services like Dropbox or OneDrive?
SA: As great as OneDrive and Dropbox are, it’s important to note that File Sync and File Backups are not the same! If you sync all your files to the cloud and they get infected or encrypted those infected files will be synced to the cloud. Backups are about Retention – keeping copies so you can go back in time to restore clean files. That said, having cloud synchronized files can be a form of backup if you suffer a hardware failure, so if you have Dropbox or OneDrive you should use it. Personally, I have all of my work files synced to OneDrive and personal files in my Dropbox.
CV: Final thoughts on backing it up?
SA: Good luck and remember – it’s not at all juvenile to Back That Thang Up!