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Surviving The Information Age

10 June 2013
 

Now that “The Information Age” is well underway, we all have increasing amounts of important information that we rely on electronic storage to keep safe for us.

It’s not just our business information, vital as that is, but personal information too – family photos and videos, financial documents, correspondence… the list is getting longer and longer!

The one certain fact about all forms of electronic data storage, whether it is the hard disc in your computer or increasingly the ‘flash memory’ used in ‘USB sticks’ or your tablet / mobile phone, is that it will, eventually, fail.  The only uncertainty is when.

Experts estimate that some 60 million computers will fail worldwide this year and that only 1 in 4 people (!) have adequate backups.  So that’s 45 million times this year where someone will have lost their data.  If you add in the number of mobile phones lost or stolen (The Office of National Statistics estimate that there were some 500,000 thefts in 2012 in the UK) then clearly this is a serious problem.

If you find yourself an unfortunate member of the 45 million, you will either have lost your data forever, or face a costly bill from the ever expanding number of data recovery experts (just try a Google search for ‘data recovery UK’ to find them all).  Prices for a successful recovery can run from a few hundred pounds to thousands depending on the type of failure involved, and there is no guarantee of success.

So... what can you do to prevent this disaster scenario ?

Thankfully, backing up your data to prevent all this is easy.  Get it set up properly and it should happen automatically.  There are three main types of backup solution:

Local backup

Keep a copy of your files on a second device (external hard drive, USB memory stick etc) separate from your main computer.  Never rely on a second hard disk in the same device (frequently referred to as ‘RAID’) as certain types of failure can frequently wipe all the drives at the same time.  Keep this device away from your main computer – not sitting on top of it!

Offsite backup

Keep a copy of the local backup at another secure location.   This protects your backup in case of fire, theft or natural disaster.

Cloud backup

An increasingly popular and ever cheaper option, similar to an offsite backup, which involves simply installing a small application on your computer to automatically copy your files to storage in a data centre over the internet.  This can happen in real time as you work or be a job that gets carried out overnight or at a certain point in the day.

Once set up, this method takes little maintenance - however, your backups can be a bit of a pain to retrieve (as you have to download everything !) so having this option in conjunction with one of the above is a good, secure plan.

And remember, it’s not just the files on your main computer, but your laptop, phone, tablet, digital camera etc that need to be protected.  Be safe.

 

For more information, contact Paul Hutchison at phutchison@springfords.com

 

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