Imagine you're compiling your thesis on your laptop. Everything's done and double-checked, and all that's left is the referencing of this entire document.
Every word brings you nearer to your freedom... until the laptop abruptly shuts down. It dawns on you that you might have lost your document, but you keep that thought at bay. You should remain positive, right?
Except for this time, when you power up the laptop, the thesis is nowhere to be found. Your system has gone kaput, and your deadline is just days away. At this moment, you'll have two reactions:
One: Your thesis is already backed up to a safe place. The only problem is referencing, which you can redo in no time.
Two: You start sweating, and your mind goes numb. The only copy you had was on this laptop, and it just disappeared in thin air.
This is just one of the countless blunders of data loss that people experience on a daily basis. From kids deleting contacts in their parent's phones to college students missing their assignments to businesses losing their entire databases due to just one wrong click, data losses can really drive you nuts.
Sometimes, it's just a couple of videos and folders that your friend accidentally deletes from your Google Photos. Sometimes, it can be months worth of tax dealings records that go into oblivion due to a single wrong click. Either way, one mistake is usually all it takes to suffer huge losses.
What is Data Backup?
In plain, nontechnical words, data backup is having a replica (or multiple replicas) of every bit of your data.
This means that all your files and folders, ranging from simple images to complex software programs, are identically present in another location that's often much more secure and remote than the actual files.
Misconceptions About Data Backup
Many individuals and businesses are way too clueless about the importance of backing up, and they don't realize how mistaken they are until it's too late. Here are some of the most common excuses and misconceptions people have in mind for not backing up their data in a safe place.
"My Data Is Safe as It Is"
This is perhaps the biggest mistake anyone can make: assuming that data backup is unnecessary for them because their data doesn't hold much value. The truth, however, is that any type of data, no matter how plain it may seem, always has some information that shouldn't fall into the wrong hands.
Sometimes, it can be turned into a lethal weapon if your device is taken over by a hacker. Other times, your own human error, or a technical fault, will result in you losing access to all that data.
The old mentality of ‘nothing will happen to me’ often causes many people to stall their data backup protocols for no concrete reason whatsoever.
"It's All Technical Balderdash"
A second misconception that people generally exhibit is the belief that backing up data is something highly technical and requires professional skills or outside help.
Since not all data owners necessarily have the basic know-how of how backing up works, the concept always remains alien to them.
The reality, however, is quite the opposite. The fields of Information Technology and data security have come a long way since the days of BASIC programming and static screens. With the right tools and organization, data backup is almost a child's play for nearly everyone these days.
Anyone who believes otherwise can get their data backed up with someone else's help or even learn how to back up their own data through YouTube and Google tutorials!
"It Won't Stay Private"
A third false belief because of which people refuse to back up their data is that someone else will spy on their backed-up private files and folders. Just like the previous misconception, this one also results from not correctly understanding how backup works.
Data backups and archives are actually password-protected, encrypted, and entirely remote. Your backup files are accessible only to you because they're virtually out of range for everyone else!
If you also believe in any of these misconceptions or know someone who does, then here's everything you need to understand about why data backup is essential.
Why Backing Up Data is Important
Data backup is critical to all modern-day devices and their users because:
It Keeps Data Organized
We are now dealing with more bits of data than we have ever done at any time in human history. From our electricity bills to workplace identification to our election votes, everything exists in the form of data.
Since there's so much data, there's also a more pronounced need to keep it organized and streamlined.
Instead of struggling with individual devices to keep backing up your data, you can keep all those GBs and TBs of data neatly sorted on backup platforms, sites, and devices.
It Empties Up Your Space
Nowadays, there's too much data and usually too little space on our main devices. From people cleaning up their cell phone storage to entire organizational databases crashing down, data overload is becoming quite normal. Data backups provide the ultimate solution to these problems.
You can simply archive all the files and folders you don't usually need and clear them from the drive on your main device. For instance, if you want to keep your eBooks somewhere safe but also want to make space for new eBooks, you can simply back up the previous ones in a Google Drive folder!
A final yet pretty vital reason to keep your data stored in backup drives and sites is because they're generally more covert and secure than our regular devices.
Having a replica of all your data secured in a different location means that even if the actual version gets stolen, or hacked, or attacked by a virus, you'll still have another set safely deposited somewhere else.
So, once you've gotten rid of the hack or the virus, you can perform data recovery in your device, as well as in any new device.
Types of Data Backup
There are two ways you can categorize the types of data backups.
First: According to the Type of Backup File
One simple way to understand the types of backup is to recognize the different types of files that people usually back up. These most commonly include:
- Address Books:
Your address books, both personal, family, and professional are a highly sensitive collection of data whose copies are definitely pretty important.
- Monetary Statements:
Monetary statements, such as school's fee vouchers, bank statements, loan notifications, hospital bills, etc., as well as your tax records, can be a part of your data backup as well.
- Emails, Call Records, and Chats
Whether you have only a personal contact base or both personal and professional emails and cell phone numbers, there are always some things that you need to keep backed up. These can include emails sent for job applications, workplace group chats with important attachments, and so on.
Videos, audios, pictures, presentations are amongst some of the different kinds of multimedia that are important to be backed up. These can include some of the most cherished photographs from your childhood, as well as the PPT files of your presentations in your workplace.
Of course, you may further segment the different kinds of files and folders based on their importance. In other words, you may back up your work-related files in different backup destinations, your personal data in other places, and your group-shared backup files in entirely different backup platforms!
Second: According to The Type of Backup Destination
There are two main types of backups you can go for. These are:
- Data Backup Software Programs
As the name indicates, data backup software programs are software destinations to save data. You can access these through your PCs, tablets, and smartphones, but they're not essentially a part of these devices.
Instead, backup software exists as independent, often online pieces of software with plenty of storage to hold your data.
You've probably used at least one of these software programs to store your data. Google Drive, Zoom Cloud, Windows 10 Backup, as well as many other backup apps are used to back up data.
These software programs can be in a branched network with other apps and programs you use, such as Google Docs, WhatsApp, Zoom, Windows, etc. Sometimes, these partner apps automatically backup your data for you in their backup storage space.
In other cases, you can purchase complete backup software programs. Especially if you have large amounts of data to back up, you will most probably need more than just a simple built-in backup program.
- Backup Hardware Destinations
Backup hardware devices are a different kind of backup system. As the term implies, these are separate devices and exist outside your main device's virtual capacity. Backup hardware devices are almost as common as backup software programs and can be available in a variety of ways. For instance:
- Optical Discs
Optical discs, such as CDs, DVDs, and Blu-Rays, are most commonly used to back up moderate amounts of data, usually for domestic or personal purposes.
If you're looking for a safe place to store all your family photos and documents, or if you want a separate storage system for your school assignments and papers, then optical discs offer the most versatility. However, they're only functional when you have a PC to run the optical disc.
- External Hard Drives
External hard drives can carry larger amounts of data and can store all types and formats of files, folders, and documents. They can work with just a simple cord connection as well as with Bluetooth connectivity.
- USB or Pen Drives
USB flash drives are a much more handy means of storing data as backup. They may be small in size, but pen and USB drives can store equivalent or sometimes even higher amounts of data than other storage solutions.
They're easy to carry around and can be connected to the ports of almost any device for data transfer and access.
- Time Machine
Time Machine is a storage device designed specifically for Mac users. It's a highly secure, high-resolution storage device that can take care of your data stored on your Apple devices. It works similar to an external hard drive and is entirely secure in its functions, but it's only restricted to Apple device owners.
Tips for Backup
Backing up data is something that requires your total concentration and patience. If you take a look at your cellphone alone, you probably have hundreds of GBs of data only related to your personal use.
On an organizational scale, this figure would be much larger. To handle such large amounts of data, here are some tips to help you out:
Keep Your Backup Organized
Your backup shouldn't be like the messy bottom of your handbag, with receipts and pens and tissue papers appearing from every hidden corner.
Instead, before you upload your data in a backup location, make sure you have all your files and folders organized categorically. This will keep your backup from becoming a large, nightmarish mess where nothing can be found when you need it.
Perform Regular Updates
Backups can be updated as frequently as every 10 minutes. If this seems incessant, then you should at least backup daily or weekly, depending on the amount of data you generate in a certain time. The more frequently you keep your data backed up, the less you'll worry about any losses!
Go for Premiums
If you're looking to back up workplace data, then premium backup plans are perhaps the safest solution. They're encrypted with protective measures and help to keep Big Data more hygienic and organized.
If data is an integral part of your life, then backing it up safely is just as important. This guide helps you find the answers to all your queries and concerns about data backup, so you’re good to go for performing your own data backup!