There is no denying it, data is one of the most precious assets a company or individual can own today. Your files, no matter how insignificant they may be, are irreplaceable. This is why data loss is one of the biggest challenges businesses face in the modern world. The best way to prevent data loss is by backing up your computer. So, how often should I backup my computer?
Data loss can happen to anyone. It can be the loss of valuable, irreplaceable memories such as pictures of old family members, footage of family vacations, work documents, school assignments, and even medical records. For corporations, data loss poses a much bigger problem. The loss of data not only constitutes the loss of irreplaceable information but also the loss of client confidence. In some cases, data loss can lead to litigation from irate clients or business associates. Ergo, backing up your data is essential.
What Causes Companies to Lose Data?
In America, an estimated $12 billion worth of data is lost each year. For businesses, this means the loss of financial records, vendor information, billing records, contacts, and orders, just to mention a few.
Perhaps the reason why data loss remains a pervasive issue is that it can be caused by anything from catastrophic weather (hurricanes, tornadoes, and such), to human error. System and hardware failure, and software corruption by malware, are responsible for about 78 percent of data losses. Human error causes more data losses than all the natural disasters combined, meaning the causes of data loss can be as unavoidable as they are unprecedented.
How Do You Prevent Data Loss?
Preventing data loss can be achieved through the regular practice of backing up your data. Backing up your data should ideally be done everyday; however, once a week would suffice for most companies. There are plenty of data backup software that can be configured to automatically schedule backups at selected intervals. Companies with large caches of data stand to benefit the most from such services, most of which offer trial periods that can be taken advantage of when shopping for the right data backup software.
Aside from downloadable software, there are companies that specialize in data backup and recovery. Such companies tend to have secure offsite servers that are used to store client data, and in many cases, they offer automated backup options as part of their service.
For individuals and small businesses, manual backups are still an option. Though tedious, backing up your data manually is recommended when there is no other fail-safe in place to prevent data loss. Manual backups can be used to protect information such as website code, customer data, contacts, passwords, and custom programming protocols. Individuals may focus on backing up their emails, spreadsheets, documents, appointments, and presentations.
If you choose to manually backup your data, it is wise to store your backed up data offline in a secure hard drive or USB stick drive. Transferring it to a portable medium minimizes the chances of your data being compromised by online threats, but it also increases the likelihood of it falling into the wrong hands. Therefore, you should store your portable data backups in secure places, such as inside your home safe, in a safety deposit box at the bank, or on another offsite location.
Backing up your data routinely can save you from extensive data loss in the event of something as minor as a coffee spill on your keyboard, or as major as a fire or a system-wide failure. To answer the question “how often should I backup my data”: the more valuable your data is, the more frequent your backups should occur.