What's makes a good backup strategy

I’ve been thinking a lot about backup lately – and I recently even had the chance to test my backups when my wife’s laptop was stolen.

So, here’s what I think are the most important attributes of a good backup system for homes and small business:

  • A backup has to be reliable - this is obvious but it is the most important thing, a backup is worthless if you try to restore and discover your data is corrupt.
  • A backup has to be fully automatic – unless you have someone who’s sole job is taking care of the backups you will forget to backup, or skip a day (and then a week and then a month) because you are busy right now, or just procrastinate and do something else instead (like play solitaire or write a blog post) – you can’t restore data you didn’t back up.
  • A backup should be off-site – this may sound a bit paranoid but someone actually stole my parents computer together with the external hard drive that contained the backups.
  • And finally, backup should be reassuring – it should let you know your data is safe and let you not think about disaster recovery.

There are many companies offering automatic backup over the internet at very affordable prices – and if you are not already a customer of one of them you should become one today – but there’s one thing they do very poorly – and that is back up photos and videos.

Photos and videos are huge – so they require a lot of bandwidth and space to backup, and since the main expenses of on-line backup companies are, you guessed it, disk space and bandwidth they tend to be either bad at backing up large files (usually by being unacceptably slow) or they charge a lot of money for it.

But there is a solution – and I’ll write about it soon, until then subscribe to one of the on-line backup services and make sure everything except your photos is backed up – leave the photos to me (what’s that? is that a teaser for the new secret software I’m working on?).

posted @ Thursday, June 23, 2011 4:59 PM

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