With more and more of our precious personal data being either online or on a computer, having a backup of these resources, even for the home user is becoming a more and more vital thing to have. You may have all your personal pictures stored on your home computer, or your whole music collection or most certainly a set of important documents that you need to guard against theft, disaster or computer failure.
Here are some methods and devices that will help you in achieving this backup. This guide is also relevant to those small businesses and charities that don’t have physical servers that already have backup installed on them.
1.USB Hard Drives
Purchase a “memory stick” style USB drive for small amounts of data or even a portable hard drive which could store up to 6TB (terabytes) worth of information on them. Simply copy and paste your information onto the drive on a regular basis (as often as you can i.e. weekly or better) and where possible take it away from your home to guard against disaster in the home
Cost = £10-100 depending on size of drives
2. Network Attached Storage Servers (NAS)
Purchase a NAS mini server for the home or business. These connect to your home router and provide the ability to backup from any device on your network. Free software is usually included from the NAS manufacturers which can be installed on the computers or laptops and then backup’s can either be scheduled for set times or manual backup’s run when it is convenient. Ideally, we recommend at least weekly backup’s. Why not connect a USB Hard Drive up to your NAS Server and backup your backup and then take this off site to give you full backup protection. We’ve used QNAP and Synology NAS Server’s before and these are just 2 of the manufacturers out there offering such a system.
You could even use a NAS as a pure backup server, backing up your main server to the internal hard drives of the NAS. This doesn’t provide any off-site solution however so even then it would be best advised to use a cloud backup application on the NAS (if available) or a USB drive to backup the NAS to and then take this off site.
Cost = £200 – 600 depending on size, speed and setup of server
3. Online/Cloud Backup
The most modern of solutions but can also be the most expensive in the long run if you have large amounts of data. Backup to online storage servers so that your personal data is backed up off site by default giving you the ultimate protection. Usually online backup systems can be scheduled for set schedules or backed up at a time of your convenience. If you have only small amounts of data then free storage providers such as Dropbox, Onedrive or Box may be appropriate and in this case you can simply upload your files straight from your computer. Online backup solutions such as our very own system or other systems like Crashplan or IDrive can also be purchased. Online backup is ideal for those people needing off site backup and who have relatively small amounts of data. You will also need to put your trust in the online provider in that they will hold your personal information very carefully.
Cost = Varies depending on solution but our own system is £1 per GB per month on a PAYU (Pay as you Use) basis
4. Tape Backup (more for business)
Internal or external tape drives are a valid option for businesses who have server environments. Transfer speeds are usually very good (often better than USB3) however this is quite an expensive solution. The reliability of tapes can be better than USB3 drives if they are looked after and with their mobility can also be taken off-site. Tape drives are becoming less supported and generally less used in a Windows environment so of all the options this is probably the least effective and cost effective in the current marketplace.
Cost = £1000 for the device and then £70 for each tape.
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