You may not have known this, but Thursday March 31st is World Backup Day. It is a global occasion dedicated to raising awareness around just how reliant we have become on data, why it’s important for big organizations and private individuals alike to backup, and how to best protect our data. This short guide introduces you to the key types of data backup, why they’re important, and why backing up should become part of your daily routine.

Why are backups important?

As much as we try, it’s almost impossible to mitigate against all potential accidents or vulnerabilities to malicious cyberattacks. Backups are a fundamental element of disaster preparation, ensuring that you’re fully prepared against data loss or theft. Backups give users invaluable peace of mind (you don’t have to worry about losing sentimental, private, or personal data) and also ensure that your potential downtime is as short as possible.

Though data loss, theft and compromise is prevalent, it might come as a surprise that 21% of people have never made a backup. This is the problem that World Backup Day is trying to address.

Different types of backup

‘Backing up’ your computer or device can take different forms. There’s no ‘right’ way to backup your data, instead the best backup method for you depends on your user profile and needs.

Online cloud backup services

When you backup online, you’re backing up your data remotely via the internet. Your backed up data is stored in what is known as ‘the cloud’, and is accessible at any time over the internet. Most cloud backup services offer automatic and continuous backup, as well as automated encryption, meaning your backup is always up-to-date and highly secure. Bear in mind, however, that cloud-based backups can be vulnerable to malicious activity exposing your data to risk.

External hard drive backups

Hard drive backups are physical devices that store your data. Backing up to a hard drive is a manual process and can be limited by the capacity of the storage device you’ve got. Hard drive backups do not rely on an internet connection. Note however, that the physical security and location of your hard drive will be your biggest concern and risk factor.

NAS backup

NAS backup stands for ‘Network Attached Storage’ Backup. In actual fact, NAS is not intended as a backup mechanism, but many organizations still use it as such. NAS is a file storage system that is intended to foster collaboration between users.

USB or flash drive backup

You can go a little old-school and simply backup to a USB stick. Simply load the files that you want to backup onto the flash drive and you’re done! For obvious reasons, this method is more effective at an individual level.

Best backup practices

Don’t be fooled, it’s not enough to back up once and never think about it again. Here are a few best practices to follow for maximum peace of mind:

  • Backup regularly at consistent intervals.
  • Backup to more than one location for maximum security
  • Encrypt your backups
  • Consider endpoint devices that you might have overlooked in your backup

If you have a BYOD policy in place, then consider how these personal devices should fit into your backup infrastructure

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