An important, yet commonly overlooked area in our digital lives is protecting those irreplaceable images and videos by creating (and testing) regular backups.  Is your data protected?

 

Consumer Statistics conducted a Data Backup Survey consisting of 6149 respondents from 128 countries revealed some troubling numbers. While 91% agreed that backups were important, 89% admitted they do not perform regular backups.

 

Having performed data recovery for many clients, all scenarios have typically fallen into 3 different categories:  There was no backup done, there was a backup but it hadn’t been tested and finally the backup had not been done for some time.

Fortunately in all our clients’ cases the data was recoverable, but this doesn’t mean that there will always be a happy ending. 

Follow our simple guidelines to avoid unnecessary stress:


The 3 Copy Rule: 

A rule of thumb to ensure your data is safe is to keep 3 copies. Generally a copy on your computer a second on a portable hard drive and the last off site – this can be kept with a trusted friend or family member, even a safety deposit box.  Keeping a copy off site guarantees your data is preserved in the event of a fire or flood.


Disconnect!

Most people get into the habit of leaving a removable storage device such as a memory stick or portable hard drive plugged into their computer. It is important that once you’ve verified the data has been duplicated properly, disconnect the storage and store in a safe place. This prevents deletions, physical damage by accident falls and even electrical damage from a power surge.

 

CDs and DVDs DO have a shelf life: 

While less common, it is important to note that CDs and DVDs do degrade over time. Estimates range anywhere from 5 to 200 years depending on the manufacturer and conditions that the media has been stored in. For this reason, it is not recommended to be used for long term backup solution.  You may use these for short term solutions or supplementary to complete our 3 copy rule. If you choose to use this method, consult the manufacturer’s guidelines.

 

Cloud Backups:

An increasingly popular method of duplicating data is storing it in the cloud via free services such as Dropbox, SkyDrive or Google Docs. These services can be used to backup your data and be part of the 3 copy rule, however, it is important to note that your personal data can be compromised in the event of unlawful access to your account.  In other words, if you do not want your personal information or pictures to fall into the wrong hands, do not store them with these services.

 

Testing, Testing: 

Test to ensure that your data was copied properly, that file sizes and the amount of files in folders match.  Open the copied files to ensure their integrity. 

 

Conclusion:

By following these simple guidelines, you will guarantee yourself a stress free data recovery. Keep your memories (pun itended) safe by performing and testing those backups regularly.