Protecting Your Data, Protecting Yourself
Whether you manage a business or simply have a lot of important personal information stored on your electronic device, protecting your critical data is essential. After all, computers, phones and tablets can crash without warning, and if you don't have a backup in place, you could end up with a lot of missing information on your hands. At Bringing Your Tech to Life in King, NC, we offer reliable data backup services for individuals and businesses alike.
Listen, no one plans on losing their data, but just about everyone does at one time or another if you wait long enough. Take preventative action! We can assist with local backups including External Hard Disk Drives or Network Access Systems. Even better, we've partnered with Carbonite to ensure that even if your entire home is sucked into the Bermuda Triangle your valuable information is stored on secure servers that follow even the strictest security measure, even HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) approved.
COMMON BACKUP SOLUTIONS
EXTERNAL HARD DISK DRIVES
Likely the most common backup solution found in residential environments. A simple external device that connects to your desktop or laptop via USB Cable, which takes files located on your device and creates a backup to the external device. This was a reliable backup solution for many individuals when shared computers in a household were common. Now that devices are more mobile, we often forget to connect our laptops to these External HDDs leaving new files and recently modified files vulnerable to data loss. Due to this simple error in human nature we often only recommend External Hard Disk Drives for Desktop Computers. It should be noted that external hard disk drives that are connected and powered on to a device are vulnerable to ransomware. In addition, your data would not be protected in the case of catastrophic disasters like floods or fire. If your data is that valuable you should consider some sort of off-site storage solution.
NETWORK ACCESS STORAGE (NAS)
NAS Drives are similar to standard external hard disk drives in the sense of their inner workings. However, instead of connecting to one machine with a USB Cable a NAS has the ability to connect to your router with an Ethernet Cable. Therefore, all devices connected to your router have access to the backup device and can perform regularly scheduled backups over the network via Ethernet Connection or over Wi-Fi. A NAS Drive is a perfect solution for a household or office with multiple devices requiring backups. It should be observed that this unit is housed on-site and is therefore susceptible to the same catastrophic disasters of floods and fires or common theft.
Many businesses use Network Access Storage Drives as a central location for storage. With RAID Arrays you can ensure redundancy of your data across multiple hard disk drives. For example a 2 Bay NAS has two physical drives that are mirrored, protecting your data from physical or logical failure if one drive fails.
Cloud Storage services provide seamless access to all your important data—Word Docs, PDFs, Spreadsheets, Photos, and any other digital assets—from wherever you are. You no longer need to be sitting at your work PC to see your work files. With cloud syncing you can get to them from your smartphone on the train, from your tablet on your couch, and from the laptop in your hotel room or kitchen. Using a service like those included here means no more having to email files to yourself or plug and unplug USB thumb drives.
If you don't yet have a service for storing and syncing your data in the cloud, you should seriously consider one. Which you choose depends on the kinds of files you store, how much security you need, whether you plan to collaborate with other people, and which devices you use to edit and access your files. It may also depend on your comfort level with computers in general.
An online backup service is one of the best ways to protect yourself against such threats as a crashed hard drive or accidental deletion. Natural disasters such as fires, floods, and earthquakes can also spell the end of your digital media and documents. Even if you're among the very few who diligently perform local backups at regular intervals, you could still lose data if you don't store backups offsite. Online backup services scan your computer or other device for files worthy of protecting, encrypt them for security, and send them up to the company who’s service you have subscribed too. Once your files are uploaded, you can access and restore your data from anywhere.
Though there's some overlap, online backup services shouldn't be confused with cloud storage and file syncing services like Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive or iCloud. Those services do store files in the cloud, but they aren't designed to automatically protect all important documents and media files, let alone system files. Their strategy is generally to sync just one folder with all its subfolders to the cloud, and in some cases, to offer online collaborative document editing. Many backup services offer folder-syncing capabilities, but few syncing services offer full-scale backup functionality.
DATA REDUNDANCY (RAID)
If you've ever looked into purchasing a NAS device or server, particularly for a small business, you've no doubt come across the term "RAID." RAID stands for Redundant Array of Independent Disks. In general, a RAID-enabled system uses two or more hard disks to improve the performance or provide some level of fault tolerance for a machine.
The way in which you configure that fault tolerance depends on the RAID level you set up. RAID levels depend on how many disks you have in a storage device, how critical drive failover and recovery is to your data needs, and how important it is to maximize performance. A business will generally find it more urgent to keep data intact in case of hardware failure than, for example, a home user will. Different RAID levels represent different configurations aimed at providing different balances between performance optimization and data protection.
Small USB drives are almost as inexpensive as discs, even as their capacity increases. They have the advantage of being ultra-portable. Maybe too portable, since they're easy to lose (and steal). But locking one multi-GB flash drive in a safe deposit box is easier than storing discs, hard drives or physical documents. Some USB drives are even designed for protection from the elements, making them a safer destination for your data.
SD CARDS & MICRO SD CARDS
Small SD cards are commonly found in digital cameras, tablets and smart phones for additional storage. They have also been used in small form factor devices like Raspberry Pi for long term storage. SD Cards may be used in a similar fashion to USB drives for storing important data. Unlike most USB Flash Drives, many come with a physical sliding lock preventing users or systems from formatting or erasing content accidentally. It is certainly not the preferred long term backup solution that we recommend but something is better than nothing.
SOLID STATE EXTERNAL DRIVES
Similar to the External Hard Disk Drive, a Solid-State External Drive connect to your device with a USB Cable to perform backups of personal files. What differs is the inner workings of the drive. Solid State Drives do not contain spinning platters or a moving read and write head. Therefore, they use less energy to operate, are able to perform read and write operations more quickly and are not susceptible to physical failures from drops or vibrations. External Solid State Drives are preferred as backup drives for laptops for these reasons.
HARD DISK DRIVES
Internal Hard Disk Drives (or Internal Solid State Drives for that matter) are rarely used as a backup method as most computers only have one physical storage drive installed. However, a simple customization can be made to some laptops and desktops to accommodate this feature so a user doesn't have to be connected to an external drive or have Internet Access for a backup to perform automatically. Multiple Storage Drives is most common in Desktops that are custom built.
If you're still using Floppy Disks in the 21st Century for data backups there may be no help for you. However if you want to migrate old backups from the 1990's to something more modern we do have the ability to migrate this data for you.
CD & DVD DISCS
If you're still using CDs and DVDs in the 21st Century for data backups you should probably stop. Optical Drives are becoming less common in desktops and are rarely found in modern laptops. The experiential life expectancy of recorded CDs and DVDs is between two and five years, though based on manufacturer claims, ten to twenty five years, or even longer, isn’t unprecedented. In any case, using very conservative numbers will reduce the risk of losing data. These numbers also depend on environmental factors and how often you use the disc. Any optical media is extremely susceptible to damage because there is little protection on the readable surface—just think about how many CDs have been scratched through regular use. For those users born after the year 2000 you may need to talk to a parent about Music CDs.
Ransomware is something that needs to be discussed when talking about Data Backups. If your backup is available on a network or connected to your device it is susceptible to virus or malware manipulation. Ransomware is designed to look for personal files on your device either internally or externally and encrypt it. Once Encryption is completed you will be prompted to pay for the encryption key to unlock your files. Offline Backups stored in a desk drawer, safe deposit box or at a family members house is safe from this kind of manipulation. Many Cloud Backups Solutions provide multiple copies of a file for a duration of time in the event that encryption occurs. At the end of the day what is the value of your data?