This is the fourth & last blog in my set about Backup. If this is the first time you are accessing my blog, please read the prior backup posts.
In the first installment I have written about where to backup your data, after the first Backup blog there was a hiatus with a post about computer & dust. The next one was about what to backup, the different kind of data files that need to be saved. The last one was a special Databases & Mail mention. Also, the first post in this blog was about taking care of saving your family pictures from A to Z, go to it if you did not yet take care of you digital pictures.
Right now, if you applied my suggestions about Where & What, your data should be arranged by type, you should know where your different files are located & the files themselves, renamed according to my protocol & stacked away under the related folder. If all this is in order you have accomplished 90% of the work! Yes, as in any technical work if you are ready & orderly in your work the process itself is easy.
So How do we backup all that important information?
First, I am going to differentiate between tree general kinds of users, the distribution will not follow the normal path of Home, business & bigger, but will be segmented by the number of computers available to the user, be it small business, home users or soho.
- One computer only.
- A Workgroup. Several computers on a LAN (A Local Area Network) without a server. That’s any computer that is hooked up to a router & can access one another on the same network. This includes NAS (Network accessed Storage) in layman terms, an external disk that can be plugged on the network and accessed by any computer on said LAN.
- Several computers on a server based network.
Second, you have to choose the backup application, this is more difficult. There is a lot of applications out there. There are the free ones, the best free local backup application in my opinion is called SyncBack free from 2brightspark. Just initialize a search for “free backup app” you will have a cornucopia of results, go for the “Top 10” Lists & just choose the one you like the best. If you are ready to spit some of you hard earned Shekels, the price bracket is between 20 to 70$ for the normal types & that goes up very fast to 3 to 4 figures for the professional software like Symantec Backup Exe. If you go for broke & buy your software, choose one with versioning. This will permit you to address your backup much more professionally. I equate simple backup vs. versioning to taking a picture of your system once a day to having a nonstop video running & saving any changes you are making to your files. I am using the paid version of SyncBack with versioning & I am running it every 15 minutes! Yes every 15 minutes, the more you are running your backup the less delta there is the less amount of material you have to move. You can even set your software to listen for any change of your files & copy that. In my opinion it is too much of a bother & it run the CPU too much.
Third, you simply differentiate your data by the quantity. For example, I see tree thresholds;
- Up to 7GB overall data
- Over 50GB of data. In this section we are differentiating between different king of data;
- Office or administrative information, which is low media and high text in content & should not exceed the 7GB threshold.
- Small media files like pictures that should amount in average up to 50GB
- Heavy media files, like videos that can reach to Tera Bytes of data.
- Up to 50GB overall data. As in section 2. Without the heavy media files.
To the backup schemes;
Simple one computer scheme;
One computer will back up locally first, then the data will be uploaded to the cloud. This gives us a two tiered approach. The first backup will take care of all the data with fast access for backup & retrieval. The second backup will be directed directly to the cloud, the easiest way is to open an account in one of the free cloud services and to set the first backup location to be uploaded/copied/synced to the chosen service server.
Depending on the amount of data, we will copy all the targeted data to our chosen media.
- An external detachable USB disk
- An internal local disk
- A disk on key
Using an extra internal Disk is always the simplest way to ensure quick access & timely procedure. If the disk is already in the computer you do not have to remember to hook it up to perform the backup! In this case it is required to also backup, at least the administrative data to a cloud service. This is to be sure that in case of fire or theft, you will still have your most important data. If you have a lot of important data you should implement a third tiered process to an external USB detachable disk once a month & store it at another location!
You can either go for the free services for up to 7GB, or the affordable storage for up to 50GB, that was the reason for data amount segmentation.
You chose one of the computers on your network, you add a big disk on it. Install your backup software. Make sure that all other computers & NAS on the network are accessible. The data on those computers should be arranged according to the rules mentioned on the prior posts. Setup the software to copy all the relevant data to the backup disk. Each computer should have its own folder. The backup process itself should not take to much CPU, and remember, the higher the frequency of the backup (to a certain point) the less data is to be copied. That’s it you have your main backup.
As for the one computer rule, if you want to be protected from fire or theft you have to either set the backuped data to be synced to the cloud or/and copy it to one or more external disks. If you chose to have more than one disk, you will have to rotate them once a month so you always have a copy in another location. If you have a lot of data & cloud storage is to expensive, one of the possibilities is to access your network from another computer through the internet & copy your backed data to this external computer over night every day. In this case the first backup should be done locally then physically moved to the remote computer. If you have a lot of data, the first backup can take more than a few days. It’s not practical!
Server based network;
The same as for the workgroup but since all the data should already be on the server, it’s more centralized including server based mail & easier to find. In case of pop3 based mail, the data will be located on the local computers, so you still have to access the computers to backup your data.