Types of Computer Backup

Making extra copies of your important files and storing them separately from the originals is referred to as backing up. Since losing your valuable personal or business data can be devastating, it is very crucial that you devise a backup plan. This typically involves answering the following questions:

  • What should you backup?
  • When should it be backed up?
  • How should you backup your data?
  • Why should you backup your files?

The answer to the last question should be apparent: your backup plan can signify the distinctness between destructive loss of data, money, and time and the insignificant trouble of devoting a few hours to restore your files to their original form.

What Should You Backup?

The very first step in devising a backup plan is to determine what should be backed up and designate priorities to the files and folders that you wish to back up. The ideal solution is to backup all your data. However, this option might not always serve expedient due to time constraints and confinements on the capacity of the backup media you choose.

It is not always substantial to back up the application files and operating system, as these can be reinstalled anytime from the installation disks. The most important thing to be backed up is your original data; original data is inclusive of spreadsheets, word processing documents, and other data developed in distinct user applications. You should give top priority to creative works such as original writing compositions or graphic art because such data can be absolutely impossible to be recreated accurately. Mission-critical data such as financial details should indeed be at the top of your backup list.

Make sure you have your policies on what to backup in writing. Data that you wish to back up must be stored in a central location, such as a particular drive on the server. This is important because having your crucial data spread throughout the network on different hard drives can make it hard to ensure that no data is missed during the backup cycle.

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When Should It Be Backed Up?

You should create a schedule for regular, periodic backups of all your important data. The frequency of backing up your data depends on the amount of data you can manage to lose. It is always better to schedule your backups on a daily basis or at least on weekly basis. You can schedule your data backups to happen after business hours so that the network performance does not get interrupted. Most reliable backup software allows you to schedule automated backups so that backups commence without the presence of a human.

Types of Computer Backup

There are three types of computer backup, which are discussed below:

  • Full backup
  • Differential backup
  • Incremental backup

Full backup: All your data on the particularized drives are backed up, without regard to when or whether it is backed up before and whether there have been any changes since the previous backup. The full backup needs the most space and time on the backup media, and hence, it is the most expensive of all backup types. It is also the most facile method, and if you conduct a full backup at the end of every day, you are ensured that all your data backups are up-to-date. Full backup is also the easiest type to restore.

Differential backup: The differential backup saves your time. It is usually performed in affiliation with full backups. For instance, you can schedule a full backup for your files once a week or once a month, and then perform a differential backup at the end of every day between the full backups. To restore your data, you will have to restore two tapes: the most current differential and the most current full backup to make sure that all your data is up-to-date. This method can be beneficial if you have large quantities of data to be backed up and very less after business hours to perform the backup. This method takes relatively less time for backup when compared to full backups. In addition, you may perform the full backups during weekends when you have enough time.

Incremental backup: The incremental backup process is the fastest of all computer backup types. However, restoration is more complex with this method and takes longer time than with other methods. You must first restore the most current full backup and then perform the restoration of the everyday incremental backup. These backups are ideal for quick backup needs, but when it comes to restoration, you will have to restore all the full backups and then each incremental backup until the day your data got lost.

In order for the backup software you use to know which data has encountered changes since the previous backup, an archive bit is placed on the file. This archive bit is an attribute of files that acts similar to the bit that notes down a file as a read-only file or as a hidden file. This bit is cleared or removed when you back up a file using a full backup or an incremental backup method. However, the bit is not cleared or removed after using the differential backup method.

How Should You Backup Your Data?

To know how to backup all your data, you must be able to answer the following questions:

  • What type of backup tool should you use?
  • Which backup software should be used?
  • Who is responsible for carrying out the backups?
  • Should the backup be automated or carried out manually?

Having known the different types of computer backup methods, it is now up to you to choose the best data backup method that would suit all your personal or business requirements.

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