There’s a saying in the field of data backup that warns, “If it’s not in three places, it doesn’t exist”. At Ballyhoo we work by this rule and advise you to do so too, backing up your data to three separate locations is an easy and very worthwhile thing to do.
If all of your valuable data – in short, your hard work – was to become inaccessible, what would be the repercussions?
At Ballyhoo we use all three of the following methods to back up our files and keep your information and website data safe.
Internal Hard Drive
When you click save on your computer or download any file from the Internet it is saved to your internal hard drive. This information is then easy to access again and again, but only from your computer. It is assumed that this data will be saved forever but there are a number of factors that could cause you to lose it all.
In the unfortunate event that fire razes your office to the ground not only will your equipment be lost but so will your data. While your equipment can often be replaced, your data cannot.
Hard Drive Failure
Hard drives can fail for a vast number of reasons. While this is rare, many types of failure are often nearly impossible to recover from – or at least extremely expensive.
There is another reason for hard drive failure that people commonly forget; age. Hard drives are not made to last forever and will eventually fail. A hard drive has an average life expectancy of no more than five years if used regularly.
External Hard Drive
What Is It?
An external hard drive connects to your computer and synchronises all of your data so it’s not only backed up; it’s portable.
Today it is possible to buy a lot of storage for a relatively inexpensive price, though in reality the average user won’t need very much storage space. Once your data is synced you can transfer it to other devices, such as a laptop or a computer in your home. Should your main hard drive fail you can easily transfer all of your data to a new one.
It is recommended that you back up your data to your external drive at least once a week, if not more often – it can take just a few minutes to fully sync your devices.
What Are The Risks?
As with internal hard drives, external drives are prone to some of the same risks:
- Fire can easily destroy your external drive, however a small fireproof safe is a good investment.
- Technical failure can occur rendering your external drive useless.
- Accidents do happen, for example dropping the drive on a hard surface.
What Is The Cloud?
The cloud is a vague term for information stored on the internet. If you back up your data to the cloud it is secure in a separate location that cannot be harmed by any risks that may harm your internal or external drives, for example a fire that could consume both at once.
How Do I Use It?
Information backed up to the cloud can be accessed anywhere, at any time, through a variety of Internet applications.
Ballyhoo currently recommends Dropbox, an easy to use application that allows you to back up your data quickly and easily. By downloading the Dropbox application to any or all of the computers you use not only will your data be stored in the cloud allowing it to be accessed through the Dropbox website, Dropbox will automatically sync your data between all of your devices everytime you make a change to a file.
What Is The Cost?
Many applications allow you to have a small amount of space for free (with Dropbox this is up to 2Gb) which can be useful if you want to store a small number of files. If you are uploading a large volume of data, such as all of your work files, this can incur a small monthly cost (starting from $9.99 with Dropbox).
What Are The Risks?
There is precedent for an online storage company to ‘lose’ their customers data, although this is an extremely rare occurrence. In reality this method attracts less risks than other methods of data backup.
By backing up your data in more than one location you are insuring yourself against the worst.
The small cost incurred by backing up to an external hard drive or the cloud will give you peace of mind and potentially save you time and money.