Data can be lost through power surges, computer crashes, fires and theft to name a few. You wouldn't leave your home unlocked and the doors wide open without any occupants, so be sure to close the door to possible losses and theft of data.
The most important aspect of this issue, is to properly back up. So here are a few things to look for when considering a data back up solution.
1. Is it automatic?
You don't want to be using a system that is dependent on human action and consequently vulnerable to being forgotten or misused.
2. Is it simple to use?
You don't want something that's complicated and time consuming to understand. You need a set and forget system; at least until it's needed!
3. Is it secure?
Your data must be off-site. It is no good having a back up file on your PC. It must be remotely stored on at least one other PC. If your PC has a major fire etc the hardware maybe lost but the data and profit is safe.
4. Is it confidential?
A sad fact of life is that there are those around that get their kicks from destroying or stealing your data. Make sure the system you use is encrypted to at least 448 bit and password protected. That way total privacy gives peace of mind.
5. Is the data compressed?
If you have a lot of data to back up you'll want to reduce the storage requirement and cost by having it compressed first. Don't underestimate how much you business or study material will grow!
6. Is the system informative?
Don't put your self in the position of "hoping it worked". Get some form of feedback that assures you it has.
7. Is the system flexible?
Make sure that the system is capable of backing up any file size or type. Don't get caught out by thinking you don't need much storage or the ability to save certain types of files.
8. Is it versatile?
Make sure the system has the versatility to deal with pda's and mobile phones. Also make sure that it has both automatic and manual back facility. You want the automatic feature for the benefit of set and forget, but you also want the, "back up my data now" feature so that you have the benefit of not having to worry through the time between finishing your thesis or proposal and knowing it is really secure.
9. Is it backed up more than once?
Don't rely on a system that only has one copy. Make sure that it has several copies stored on at least 2, preferably 3, off-site computers. Think virus! If your system is hit with a virus you can then go back to a file before the virus took a hold.
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