Backup

Back-ups are extremely important to both business and home-users. A PC can be re-built or you can buy another one but you cannot buy your data back – without your data your PC or laptop is useless. Back-ups are useful primarily for two purposes: the first is to restore the status quo following a disaster (called disaster recovery); the second is to restore small numbers of files after they have been accidentally deleted or corrupted.

Backup your emails
Mainly cloud back-up services simply back-up files within standard directory –favourites, documents, video and pictures, for example. Very few back-up emails so you will need to do this manually, either by taking a copy of the DBX, PST file or using a synced service.

Do not keep backups on your computers
There is no point in backing-up your data and leaving the back-up folder on the main computer. If that main computer is stolen or damaged in the flood, then the whole process in a waste of time.

Offsite/onsite
If you are using removable media to back-up, it’s a good idea to keep a copy in-house and one offsite (at home). Better still, lock it in a safe or lockable cabinet.

Test your back-ups
Once in a while test your back-ups. There is no point backing-up weekly and it not working properly.

Check data storage locations
Many online back-up services have their servers located in the USA. There is nothing wrong with the USA but certain industries might prefer to have data stored within the UK.

Consider an online back-up option
For ease of access an online back-up option is a good idea. They mainly cost under £100 per year and you simply select which folders to back-up – my desktop, my documents, my videos, my pictures, for example. Each day the back-up tool will scan for new files or updates and upload your data to a remote server. If you have highly-sensitive data this might not be the option for you.

Back-up frequently
Aim to back-up at least once a week though, if possible, daily is preferable. Store multiple versions and discard back-ups after a certain period.

Encrypt backups
If you are using removable media to back-up, for example a CD, DVD or USB device, it is advisable to encrypt all data. This means if the device is lost or stolen your data is safe from prying eyes.

Use more than one method
USB drives are great but if you lose it then your back-up is gone. Use more than one method, for example external hard drive, online back-up and/or USB drive. Always ensure one is off-site.

Label and sort back-ups
In an emergency you need access to your back-up fast and you need to know what is what. Label each back-up so that you know where the data is and, if you are short of space, purge very old back-ups.