Backup Systems

Tips & Hints

24 February, 2006

Your data is the most valuable single item on your computer. Without access to your data, your business will stop and you may lose years of important information and personal memories. All homes and businesses need to have a backup strategy.

The important factors to look for in backup systems are reliability, portability, cost and size. You need a backup device big enough to save your important data, it needs to reliable and backups should e portable enough to store away from the computer in the case of a fire or other building damage. Cost is always a major concern but you should remember that lost data is priceless.

In this article we look at the hardware. The software you can use we've put in a separate article. With the hardware, we’ll start with the smallest and simplest.

Flash Drives

flash drive

For individual users, the USB flash drive is one of the easiest ways to backup smaller and personal information. It’s also useful for specialist programs like accounting packages. We recommend flash drives for all home and home businesses.

Pros: Cheap, portable and easy to use.
Cons: Relatively small capacity and high cost per meg of storage.


DVD Burner

CD and DVD burners are the standby for most home and small business users with up to 8G capacity available on a dual layer DVD. We recommend new computers come with a DVD burner. External DVD burners can be plugged into a USB or Firewire port.

Pros: Standard format and portable
Cons: Burning software is not always user friendly, there are concerns about long term storage of disks.


Portable Hard drive

Portable hard drives are small enough to fit in a purse or shirt pocket. These are ideal for smaller offsite data storage. Simply copy your important data to the drive and take it home!

Pros: Relatively high capacity, portable.
Cons: High cost per meg compared to full size hard drives and tape.


External Drives

We recommend external drives as the first stage of a full business data backup strategy. Every evening all your data is copied onto it. In the event of the computer failing you can plug the drive into another computer and continue working without interruption.

Pros: Easy to setup and use. Cheap cost per meg.
Cons: Not so portable.


Tape Backup

In the case of a catastrophe such as a fire or flood, offsite backup is essential. For businesses we find tape backup offers the best balance of portability and ease of backup. A scheduled rotating ten tape backup also ensures up to a month’s data is always recoverable. We find tape and external drives used together are an excellent business disaster recovery strategy.

Pros: Easily automated, tapes are portable
Cons: Expensive purchase price, tape software is NEVER user friendly.

Backup needs vary with the needs of the individual computer user or business The best backup strategies use a combination of onsite and offsite storage. The important thing is that you can get your important data quickly when you need it.
PC Rescue Pty Ltd, Suite 236, 4 Young Street Neutral Bay NSW 2089
ABN 36 082 635 765
ŠTechnology Publishing Australia, 2008