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Backing up data is as important today as it was years ago. Although the current data backup capabilities are within everyone's reach, people still underestimate data backup.
16.1.2020, Author: František Fridrich, EXALAB Data Recovery
Data backup was once and remains very important. It may involve work files, personal documents, photos, videos or, for example, data from our parents’ or grandparents’ computers who no longer want to deal with current technology at such a level. Data recovery and data rescue may sound as strange expressions to them, but current trends have prompted them to use computer technology, if only to be in touch more often with relatives..
You may have forgotten to back up your data or maybe Murphy’s law struck again, and the data medium on which you had backed up data also failed when your computer, mobile phone, or data storage failed.
What should I do if I do not have a data backup and my computer, mobile phone, external drive… has stopped working
In case of loss of data, it is necessary to comply with several basic rules:
- Switch off the device (computer, notebook, mobile phone, external drive, NAS ...) on which data appears unavailable.
- Repeated attempts to turn on the device and read inaccessible data may complicate data recovery and data rescue, or, in extreme cases, make it impossible.
- If the device has been mechanically damaged (fall, impact) and data is unavailable, then the above recommendation applies twice. Do not attempt unprofessional attempts to access data. Contact us, and a data recovery and data rescue specialist will discuss the issue with you.
How to efficiently back up your data
There are many ways to back up your data today. It is always important to remember that a data backup is a copy of important data to a data medium outside of your computer, mobile, tablet, working disk, NAS and others. In practice, we have many times encountered a case where a customer came up with an external drive, for example, where he had transferred all the pictures of his family and friends but had nothing on his computer. He simply moved all the data over time to an external drive and thought it was safe there. That, of course, does not work. Backing up your data consists in making a backup copy of your important data outside the device where the data will still be stored. Although it sounds logical, this logic is not always applied in practice.
Data media suitable for data backup
How and where to back up the data ? First of all, let's take a look at the data media that are currently available at affordable prices for a correct backup:
- Classic external disk. These have been available at reasonable prices for many years, but especially nowadays (i.e. beginning of the year 2020), with solid-state drives on the scene, they are available at a popular price. They are more than suitable for data backup. The choice in the market is rich and whether you choose one of the long established brands such as Western Digital, Seagate, Samsung or one of brands such as Adata, Lacie, Verbatim and the like, which do not actually produce mechanical hard drives themselves and probably use disk components of any of the above mentioned brands, any option will be suitable for data backup.
- External SSD. Today, these data media are already on the market in solid capacities and at an affordable price. Reliability, especially for the cheaper, may not be high, so if you want to spare while still having a data backup medium with a high capacity, you should use the classic hard disk (HDD) mentioned earlier.
- USB flash drive. This medium is technologically similar to SSDs, but it differs in the way the internal software and the controller handle the data. Data backup may serve its purpose, but we would put it at a lower level than a classic external hard drive or external SSD. Here too, reliability may be low for cheap and unbranded USB flash drives.
- NAS or Network-attached Storage is a more expensive solution where prices depend on the internal configuration, number of disks, etc., but if you choose a reasonable solution in a configuration with RAID 1, RAID 5 or RAID 6 (more is possible, but these configurations are most common for home NAS or NAS in small and medium business), you could deal with backups not only for yourself but also for other family members or other computers in the company since the NAS can be accessed via data network, that many users already have at home. The NAS can also be accessed remotely and offers many other options depending on the model and brand. This solution may be suitable not only for home users but also for small and medium businesses.
Among the most well-known NAS brands in our region are probably the brands Synology, QNAP and Zyxel. A ready-made solution where you no longer have to deal with the purchase of drives is offered by Western Digital (WD) for example.
- Third-party cloud storage - data storage located on servers of any of these service providers. The above NAS solution can also be configured and used as a cloud storage, but here we would like to mention cloud storages based on more advanced technologies. The most popular among users will probably be the cloud services Google Drive (respectively Google Backup and Sync), Microsoft Onedrive, Dropbox or Amazon AWS. However, there are many other providers on the market and it is only up to the user to decide which service is suitable for him.
Paid cloud storage is a very reliable backup solution, as data is usually replicated in two locations around the world, so even a natural disaster in the provider's data center should not compromise your data.
On the other hand, it is necessary to use a strong password, ideally in combination with a 2-step verification (for example via mobile), and the limiting factor may also be the cost, capacity and data rate, which is given by the speed of Internet connection between your network and cloud storage. Often cloud storage providers offer a limited version for free. Such an offer is limited by the low storage capacity and the absence of contractual data availability guarantees.
Data backup software
The software that can be used to back up the data, respectively the appropriate procedures are another important part of the data backup process. We can summarize them as follows:
- Software from the external drive manufacturer. Western Digital offers free WD Backup, Seagate offers Seagate Toolkit, and other vendors have similar versions of these programs. If you want to use an external data storage attached to your computer and you do not wish to buy any additional software, these software data backup solutions could be considered sufficient. Definitely better than not backing up at all.
- NAS data backup software. NAS manufacturers also provide data backup software or support for third-party software for their devices. QNAP offers NetBak Replicator, Synology offers the Cloud Station Backup service and Zyxel zCloud. These services and software are definitely more sophisticated and offer support for various other services and software solutions that can be easily used with NAS. For example, support for Acronis True Image, Microsoft Backup and Restore, and more. In this case, there are already many possibilities and methods and all depends mainly on the user's preferences, which devices he uses and wants to back up, how and other factors.
- Automatic or semi-automatic backup using software that may already be installed on your device. Windows has an integrated Backup and Restore software, your Mac has a TimeMachine service, which of course is used to backup to the cloud, not on external data storage connected to your computer, or you can use the aforementioned Acronis True Image, Chronosync and many others.
For those who like to control their data and do not want to leave everything in the hands of a software that backs up their data automatically, the Directory Synchronization feature in the popular Total Commander file manager can help.
This summary can be considered general, and there are certainly a number of other options and solutions that are not mentioned here. If you need us to recommend a solution suited to your needs, please send us a question using this form and specify your requirements.
Any data backup is better than no backup
Whatever your data backup, whether you use a free or paid solution, any data backup is always better than no data backup. Protect your valuable data from computer malfunction, mobile phone malware, ransomware…, a natural disaster, a thief, or simply a human error where someone can accidentally erase or format a drive, and so on.
If you have already lost your data and need to use our data recovery or data rescue service, please do not hesitate to contact us. We have been providing services in this area to customers in several European countries since 2006.