Does your data backup plan measure up?

Backups are a necessity these days, with viruses, malware, spyware, and people taking the power button for granted.  All of these can lead to data loss.  Data loss can lead to lost revenue, and of course lost time.  Does your back up plan measure up?

harddriveinternalsI have set up and configured many systems, and always plan ahead in regards to backing up data.  The main configuration I go with is 2 partitions, and one external USB drive.  The first partition is for the operating system and the second is for all data. Whether it’s pictures, downloads, or even work related, they all go on the second partition.

I have heard many people suggest that this is a waste of time and simply takes to long for users to understand the organization of the files.  What we as computer technicians need to do is to educate that customer in order for them to receive the best care we can provide their systems.  If we do not practice proper backup procedures, then we do not truly have our customers in mind.

The reason for the separation of data is simple.  Applications and the operating system do not change all the time and require less backups of the main operating system and applications.  The data however, stored on the second partition, could be backed up in any form we decide should be required.  This can be hourly, daily, weekly or even monthly.  All depending on the client’s needs, and how often the data on the second drive is changed or modified.

Of course it saves you time and a little money by simply setting up one drive with one partition, but those savings are only upfront. Once a disaster strikes, the costs become incremental.  If an image of the main drive is a week old or even a month old, you may have lost a few updates to your programs and operating system but overall it can be restored very quickly.  If your data was on the same partition as well, then restoring that data becomes increasingly difficult with each attempt, if the technician is not trained in data recovery, he could make it worse and make it completely unrecoverable.

If you had an image of your computer’s operating system and programs, as well as a backup of your data partition and or drive, then simply restore the image of your operating system and programs, then copy your data back to your new data drive or partition, and you have reduced your downtime, by hours, maybe even days.

The overall benefit of a proper backup plan that is adhered to is simple.  How much is the data on your computer worth to you?

As an individual, maybe not much, so it’s not really important.  As a business, the data means everything and is worth the extra money to do it right the first time, and continue with a sound backup plan. By having 2 external USB hard drives, you can keep one copy at your place of business and one copy at your home, or a secondary location.  Just make sure you keep your backups up to date.  This way you know your data will be safe and available when you need it.