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3 Types of Data Backup Solutions

Data backup has become one of those holy grails for computers and IT support the past 5 to 10 years.  There has been a huge emphasis on protecting our “precious data”, as it seems almost everything is going digital these days.

The options and media types for data backup, that we can choose from have improved considerably as well.  Back in the ancient days (…like 15 to 20 years ago), backups were regulated to mostly tape drives, with a few exceptions of CD-R drives and maybe zip drives

Yes I know I’m dating myself here, but I’ve been in this game for a while. 

Zip drives were a step above the floppy drives and allowed you to store up to 250MB.  That was a lot back in the late 90s for removable storage when they first hit the scene.  I mean compare that to a floppy disk, which could only store a maximum of…ready for this…a whopping 1.4MB of storage!  You couldn’t even store a single mp3 music file on a floppy disk back then.  

But I digress.

We’ve long improved in data storage capacity and technology since those golden years.  I’ll share 3 types of data backup solutions with you today.  I’ll cover local and non-local media.  Here we go…   

Local Backups

 

There are several ways you can go about backing up your data locally.  This is the most basic and in some cases, the most economical.  Depending on the type of user you are.

…you only pay a one-time price to purchase the device(s) and that’s it.

If your network only consists of local machines, like a regular desktop or laptop with no servers, then a local backup solution could be ideal for you.

There are really two routes that you can take when considering local backups.  External hard drives or NAS (Network Attached Storage) devices.  The more common of the two for small offices is a NAS device.

Let’s explore these two options some more for better clarification.

External Hard Drive

External drives are relatively economical these days.  You can get a 1TB (terabyte) for around $50 on Amazon.

All external drives and most internal hard drives today use SSD (Solid State Drive) technologyA solid-state drive does not use internal disk platters like traditional hard drives.  Instead, they use a more modern technology known as flash memory.

Although economical, the downside to using external hard drives as a source of data backup is the manual DIY process.  Most users simply forget to do their own backups.    

There are, of course, drives that come with backup software that you can install and schedule your backups.  This would be the option I’d recommend if you’re considering getting an external hard drive.  Make sure to purchase a drive that has its own backup software.  I also recommend getting two drives for redundancy purposes.  Again, this is the manual DIY process that’s not the most reliable.  

NAS (Network Attached Storage)

A NAS in my opinion will be the best method to go with if you have a small office.  This device has the feature of connecting to your local network.  As such, all computers connected to that network will be able to connect to the NAS to store information.

It has a more central operation than that of an external hard drive.  Some also come with an online feature, that allows you to get access to your data outside the office via the internet.

The only downside that I see with using a NAS, is that it’s a local device.  If something were to happen to your office and that device gets damaged, whatever data is stored on there will also get damaged.  

Cloud Backups

I remember when the cloud was this thing that most people simply couldn’t wrap their heads around.  I would often get asked…” what’s the cloud, and where is my stuff going?”  People feared the cloud, like it was the plague or something.  A lot of people still have a fear of the cloud, but more have warmed up to the “idea” of the cloud than before.

Simply put, the cloud is the Internet.

Your data is being stored on a server via a 3rd party that’s connected to the internet.  This vendor’s software then uploads your data to their server on a scheduled basis.  Either daily or weekly.

Cloud backup is more efficient than local backups.  The one good thing is that it’s automated, so whatever changes that are being made to your data each day, get reflected in your backups.  This is known as incremental backups

The other benefit of cloud backup is that your data is not being stored locally.  So if an unforeseen event should occur, and just demolishes your physical office and everything in it, you at least know that your company’s data is safe in the cloud.

There are many vendors to consider when deciding to go the cloud route.  Two vendors in particular that I know has a great reputation for small businesses are Carbonite and Acronis.  Both offer great packages to meet the needs of where you are in your business. 

This is a more costly approach to data backup, in comparison to local backups.  But the benefits of cloud backup outweigh the additional cost.

Managed Backup

Similar to that of cloud backup, managed backup is also in the cloud, with a slight difference.  Managed backup is being handled and monitored by a 3rd party…mostly an IT company or a Managed Service Provider.   

Your provider would ensure the proper backup solutions are carried out for your specific company.  With cloud backup solutions, you’re sort of left to do it on your own.  That’s not the case with managed backup.  Many everyday working people simply don’t have the time, nor are they informed enough to choose the best backup solutions for their business.  As a result, they opt for a managed backup solution.

To qualify for this solution, however, you need to have an operational business with an internal network.  Managed backup solutions were designed to service small to mid-sized businesses, as they usually have larger data to work with.

Which Should You Pick?

Well…that depends on you.  But to help bring you some clarity, I’ll break it down based on your usage.

As an individual user, your data usage is not as large in comparison to that of a small business.  I’d recommend you start with an external hard.  Alternatively, you can even get started in the cloud also.  There are many cloud-based solutions on an individual level, many of which are very affordable.  Dropbox is very common and popular for individual users, and it’s free to start. 

Other common cloud backup solutions that you can explore are Amazon cloud and Google Drive.  Both are also free to start.  All you need to do to get started on these platforms is to simply create an account.

For small businesses, as I mentioned Carbonite and Acronis are great options to start with, but you are free to explore other vendors out there.  If you want to keep things local, and you don’t have a server in place, a NAS device is a great place to start.  Finally, if you’re looking for something more sophisticated and catered to your business, then managed backup would be right for you. 


Tags

Advanced-PCs, backup solutions, Cloud backup, computer consulting, computer data, Computer Service, data backup, External Hard drive, Internet, Managed Backup, Solid State Drive


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