Data backup is important, but it’s not just about backing up your data. There are a number of mistakes that can lead to data loss and corruption. Here are seven common mistakes to avoid when you’re thinking about how to back up your data.
The what are six essential things to keep in mind when planning a backup strategy? is a blog post that discusses the 7 Deadly Data Backup Mistakes that people often make.
When it came to backups, I used to be the worst. It was just too simple to overlook them. After a number of difficult events over the years, I finally determined to get my act together. I done my homework, devised a strategy, and resolved the backup problem once and for all.
I’m going to share some of the things I’ve learnt along the road with you in this article.
I used to make all of the blunders listed here (no kidding). But I’ve felt so much better since I cleaned things up and spent a little money on getting things in order. I vividly recall the continuous sense of uneasiness I used to experience, and I would never want to return to it.
Now, I realize that some of this may seem to be a little excessive at first look. But before you reject these notions, consider this: how valuable is your job, your creativity, your digital life, and your peace of mind to you? Consider this and scale your backup solution to meet your requirements.
Let’s get started.
1 – Manually backing up
First and first, let me clarify something extremely essential. You are doing manual backups incorrectly if you depend on your recollection. You’ll save a lot of time if you automate the procedure.
This is due to two factors:
- In terms of frequency and consistency, a human backup procedure cannot compete with an automated one.
- You are giving yourself needless stress by depending on your memory, particularly when you know things might be done better. You’ll be lot happier if you don’t have to bother about backups.
Schedule backups are included in every professional backup software, and you should take use of this function. I’m not going to suggest any particular program since everything has to be tailored to your unique setup and circumstance.
However, I believe it is worthwhile to invest a little money on professional backup software. The free solutions available nearly always seem to be missing some key functionality (such as scheduling). Take a look around and try out a few different backup software options – most backup software companies provide a free trial.
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2- Relying only on a single backup source
Electronic equipment such as hard drives are delicate and complicated. They are doomed to collapse, and it may happen at any time. You can’t put your faith in them. This is also true with SSD disks.
It’s important to remember that when it comes to consumer-grade hard drives, the manufacturers aren’t trying to create the most dependable drives available. They’re just producing the most dependable drives that they can afford.
It is possible for two drives to fail at the same time. Yes, it’s unfortunate, but such things happen. This is why it’s critical to have at least two separate backups.
Prices for hard drives and storage space have continued to fall, so do yourself a favor and make sure you’re not depending on a single backup option.
3 – Relying on a single source of information
Unless you have a duplicate of your data off-site, it isn’t really secure.
Burglary, fire, and floods are just a few examples of terrifying situations. Even though these events are improbable, they should not be discounted.
However, here’s something to really consider: A single power surge may cause all of your hard drives to fail at the same time. So, what’s next? This may be caused by lightning or other electrical interference in the power cables.
Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
Using an online backup service in addition to a local backup is a smart approach to address this issue. There are a plethora of excellent cloud backup options available.
4 – There is no prior history.
It’s fantastic to have live backups that are automated. But what if you remove anything by mistake and only realize it after your backup has updated (oopsie — I hope it wasn’t your primary work folder)?
What if you want to revert to a previous version of a project you’re working on?
Here’s when your backup history comes in handy. Most professional backup software has a feature that allows you to retain modified/deleted data for a certain period of time (or for as long as space on the drive permits).
I use a Mac and like using the Time Machine program that comes with OS X. You don’t have to purchase Apple’s pricey (though undeniably beautiful) Time Capsule drives if you don’t want to. With Time Machine, I use a normal USB drive, which has worked great for me.
There are many excellent alternatives for Windows as well, but given my limited expertise with that, I’ll leave the investigation to you!
5 – Inability to reinstall your operating system
I’ve had a number of hard disk failures in the past. My system was never backed up, even if my data was (which was not always the case). So getting a new hard drive, installing the operating system and all of the applications, and then configuring all of the preferences and data to get anything near to how I had things set up was always a big effort.
Apart from a mental collapse, this always results in at least a day or two off from the job you should be performing. It’s not cool, particularly when you’re up against a deadline.
So be sure you have a method to rapidly restore your system if the worst occurs. I choose to run a clone drive that is updated every hour. This drive is the same as the one that came with my computer.
If (when) my computer’s hard disk fails, it takes me no more than 20 minutes to swap drives and I’m back to work. Isn’t that good?
6 – There are no archives.
Backups and archives are not the same thing. Despite this, people often mix them together (I know I have).
Consider the following scenario:
- Backups are designed to preserve your active, short-term data that changes often.
- You should have a distinct and trustworthy archiving system in place for your completed projects.
On a consumer level, there are a number distinct choices for data preservation. Regular hard disks, optical media (mostly DVD/Blu-Ray), or a mix of the two are all options.
Personally, I’ve opted for a hybrid approach. To create permanent archive CDs, I utilize a portable Blu-Ray writer. The contents of these CDs are then copied to a dedicated USB device.
This is due to three factors:
- I also have backups of my archives this way.
- I like to have a separate format backup of my archives.
- I can keep the Blu-Ray discs in a separate location from where I work. This allows you to be independent of your location (and I still have easy access to the archived material via the on-site hard drive).
- Not double-checking
Whatever method you choose for backups and archives, it’s critical to check that everything is functioning properly on a regular basis.
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7 – There is no monitoring
Hard drives and optical media may also fail if they are left on the shelf for too long. Over time, optical media will deteriorate and become unreadable. Before recording, CD and DVD-R manufacturers often guarantee a shelf life of 5 to 10 years.
We don’t have long-term statistics on Blu-Ray yet, but we can’t afford to make any assumptions at this time. Because optical discs deteriorate with time, keeping a big stockpile of empty optical discs for years is not a good idea. Even though buying discs as you need them is more costly, it ensures that the media is fresher when you record and will last longer.
When it comes to hard drives, moisture in the air may be fatal. There are also reports that leaving hard drives on the shelf for an extended period of time may create issues with them.
In any event, I would never trust a single hard disk as an archiving option; at the very least, you should buy two or back up your data on optical media.
So here’s the bottom line: double-check your backups and archives on a frequent basis. The only way to accomplish this correctly is to actually retrieve files and test them. This is the last stage in keeping you safe from danger.
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