…let me set the stage.
It’s fall and school has begun. There are three types of people: one type doesn’t worry about data backup and recovery. The second are practitioners to a degree. They have made one backup and feel they are well protected. The third follows Best Practices and maintains three versions of their backed up data. We will talk about the “why” in why some won’t backup their data. We will also talk about external harddrives, and flashdrives and the cloud.
With the beginning of the new school year you can look forward to a lot of chaos and mayhem. Why should this year be any different? Oh, but it is different in one way…..I am getting an ungodly amount of calls from teachers that have lost their data. Not just the normal thing like, “I didn’t back it up and when you reimaged over the summer you erased my entire career”. Nope, none of that. It’s more like “I backed up my data like you guys told me but I seem to have lost it.”
I’m not even going to cover the first obvious problem with that last statement: “I backed up my data like you guys told me but I seem to have lost it.” You lost your backup? All three copies? Anyway, that will wait until next week.
This week, let’s ask this question. Why don’t we back up our precious data? We all know that we need to. There must be some unconscious reason for this behavior. I call it the “It Could Never Happen to Me Syndrome”. So I googled that phrase and what do I find? That I am not far from the truth.
I found an article at www.wnd.com. The WND stands for World Net Daily and the article is written by Patrice Lewis dated April 4, 2013. Ms. Lewis refers to something called “Normalcy Bias”. I never heard of that so I looked it up in Wikipedia. There it is defined as a mental state that “causes people to underestimate both the possibility of a disaster occurring and its possible effects.” It’s sometimes called the “It Can’t Happen Here Syndrome”. The assumption is that since a particular disaster has never occurred before, it never will. Any disturbing indications that something bad may happen are dismissed or trivialized. So now that we have established a possible reason for our behavior let’s get personal.
So Many Ways to Lose Your Data
Let’s get to the point here. No matter what you do, no matter how careful you are, equipment fails. You have 10 years of pictures, family reunion videos, or work data….how can you not protect it? Trouble is there are many ways to lose your data:
- You could oops. Have you ever accidently erased data previously saved? Oops.
- Your equipment could just crash. How many times have I sat down in front of a computer and see the error message: “You must first format this drive before you use it.”
- Don’t forget all the dangers you face by opening up to the Internet. A trojan in your email, some sort of virus or worm attached to an executable file (.exe) in your email, a phishing expedition, or how about a hacker?
It’s So Easy to Backup These Days
Hard drives (external or otherwise) have never been cheaper….and they almost always come with backup/restore software attached to them (the external hard drives anyway). Not long ago a friend called me to inform me that Sam’s Club had a 1 TB (terabyte) external hard drive on sale for around $59 and a 500 GB drive for $49. I hung up on him and my wife and I went shopping. At that time I did some online shopping and discovered that MicroCenter was selling a 1 TB drive for $70, Best Buy 500GB for $49.99, Walmart sells a Toshiba 1TB for $69 and/or 32GB Flash drive for just $15.99 or a Centon 16Gb for only $10.29.
What Should You Do? / Best Practices
First of all let’s get this straight. It’s never enough to back up just once. One backup is not a backup. If it’s your only copy then it is an original but as I mentioned before that notion is for next week. Best Practices states that we should have three backups on three different types of media. What does that mean?
- You should have your data that you use often readily available to you in case of disaster. Readily available would mean something that you can refer to quickly, say a flashdrive.
- You have data that you don’t need or use every day but if disaster struck you would need it fairly quickly. This data you should store on something a little more substantial such as an external hard drive, or a CD, DVD, or BluRay disc. This isn’t something you will carry around. Store this at home or in your car or wherever.
- Would be what I call the “what if” backup. What if your car was broken into and your external hard drive was stolen? What if your house was broken into? What if your house burned to the ground? Yes, that would be a disaster. Let’s not be confused here, we are talking about disaster prevention. So this third backup should be all your data on an external hard drive or a CD, DVD, or BluRay Disc or it could also be Cloud backup. And it should be offsite….away from you.