Hassle-Free Back-Up Techniques

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The current energy predicaments out in tech-Mecca California and elsewhere in the United States illustrate — as if illustrations were needed — why it’s important to back up data. A scorching heat wave has pushed the state’s energy supply to its limits, and government and business leaders have talked about implementing rolling blackouts to handle to the problem. Additionally, in the St. Louis area, storms have knocked out power in thousands of homes and businesses. In precarious situations like these, organizations have to avoid losing crucial data or else it might harm their operations, perhaps lethally. This is where back-ups come in.

There are a number of sophisticated back-up solutions on the market, but the products and approaches to this subject needn’t always be ultra-complex. Storage professionals and techies in general can employ several different very simple and hassle-free back-up techniques to protect their data. For instance, a kind of “duh” pointer that still isn’t used as often as it should be is saving work within the text or as attachments in personal e-mail accounts. It takes all of a minute to do so, and with providers like Google and Microsoft offering hundreds or even thousands of megabytes of storage for a single account at no cost, this is becoming a ever more viable option for small- to medium-sized back-up jobs.

When thinking about how you want to back up your data, it’s important to ask yourself two questions: What are you backing up, and how often? If this process is performed at set intervals, then you might want to consider the snapshot technique. Simply put, this involves a feature — either built into the system already or requiring the purchase of supplementary software — that takes a comprehensive “photograph” of all the programs and files on your computer and saves it as a restore point.

For example, Microsoft’s Windows XP has a feature called System Restore that works exactly like this. If some problem arises that wipes out the information on your box entirely or in part, System Restore can recover that data from the last point in time at which it was saved. The only real work the user has to do in order to ensure data is backed up via this method is to set the desired intervals for snapshots. System Restore will take care of the rest. Simple, huh?

There is one issue with techniques like these. If users change their systems or crank out new work very frequently, then they still might lose a significant amount of data with snapshots that only preserve information every so often. For those in these situations, it pays to use continuous data protection (CDP). With CDP, users can back up data at a virtually constant rate. Essentially, CDP copies blocks of information whenever they’re changed and can recover them very quickly if need be. With CDP, users can just sit back and do all the work they want, not giving any thought to backing up information. (Of course, because of the potential for physical disasters, all information saved through snapshots or CDP needs to be replicated to an off-site storage facility.)

Data is more copious than ever before. It’s also more valuable to businesses than ever, meaning it has to be protected and preserved. In these circumstances, back ups are necessary, but that doesn’t mean you have to make them harder than necessary.

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