Why it's Important to Backup Your Data: How to Do it

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Why Backup Data?

This seems like a somewhat ridiculous question seeing as how the answer should be quite obvious. However, in my experience I’ve been consistently surprised by the lack of concern shown towards backing up data. The majority of users that I’ve supported seem to have unwavering faith in their hard drives and removable media. However, they are quick to jump the fence when a drive crashes or a USB thumb drive takes a spin in the washing machine.

Data backup for the individual employee is very important and should be stressed as a good practice using networked, shared drives. But the focus of this article is data backup for the small business as a whole. This means customer data, network configuration settings, server content, etc. Proper backup is an essential part of your business’ survival. In a perfect world, you may never encounter a failure that requires data restoration. But that’s in a perfect world. Have you been watching the news lately? I think it’s safe to say our world is anything but perfect. Suffice it to say… consistent data backup is business continuation 101. Here’s why.

How Hard Drives Fail

The complete failure of a storage device (for our purposes just think server hard drive) doesn’t have to occur in order to justify data restoration. In a recent conversation I had with a colleague, we discussed the misconception that hard drives are somehow perfect devices that exist in a bubble and the only thing that can affect the data on them is a complete hardware failure. Not true AT ALL. While data corruption happens less frequently than say, 10 years ago, the potential is still there. A software application could fail and write bad data to the drive. A virus could infect the drive and corrupt data. Even a power surge or a power outage can corrupt data on a drive if you happen to have a faulty UPS on the wire and a server is improperly shut down.

There are many different ways that data corruption can occur without a complete drive failure occurring. When this happens (and there’s a good chance that it WILL happen at some point) you want to be as prepared as humanly possible. I believe it was Confucius who said, “Success depends upon previous preparation, and without such preparation there is sure to be failure.”

Preparation is the key to addressing failures and data corruption. Establishing the proper data backup process is how you prepare for such events. So where do you begin? First, you need the right tools. Up next: What to Use for Data Backup.

This post is part of the series: Data Backup 101

Once upon I time I was called out to a user’s PC to address the infamous “Blue Screen of Death.” When the hard drive tested bad, I began the process of installing a new drive and re-imaging the PC. I then asked the user, “So where did you backup your stuff?” The response was a blank stare. “Backup?”

  1. Data Backup 101: Part 1
  2. Data Backup 101: Part 2
  3. Data Backup 101: Part 3