Tips for Backing Up Data to Make It Safe

Backing up data from the past until now has become important. This is because the benefits of copying data regularly include preventing unexpected things from happening, such as hardware damage or hacker attacks, and recovering damaged or problematic data that can be resolved immediately. For this reason, this article will specifically provide information on tips for backing up data.

Do 12++ Tips for Backing Up Data to Make It Safe

Tips for Backing Up Data to Make It Safe

Understanding Backups

Data copying refers to the practice of creating additional copies of important information as a security measure. Although this simple definition is generally correct, today the process of copying data has evolved and involves more complex methods and technologies.

In this context, it is important to understand that copy data not only serves as a redundant copy to protect against loss of original data, but also as a solution that ensures operational continuity and rapid recovery in the face of emergency situations or unexpected data loss.

Various methods of copying data involve technologies such as the use of physical storage media, cloud storage, and sophisticated backup software .

A deep understanding of backup types, data retention cycles, and recovery processes is key to ensuring that organizations or individuals can manage their data effectively and safely.

So, a deeper understanding of backup mechanisms can provide valuable insight for anyone who wants to maintain the security and availability of their data.

Types of Backups

There are several types of data backup that you need to know. Each type has its own differences, including:

1. Full backup

Full backup is a method where all selected data is copied. This data includes files, folders, SaaS applications, hard drives, and other elements.

The main advantage of this method is its ability to recover data in minimal time. However, the downside is the time it takes to run the backup, as all data is backed up at once.

A common problem that arises when using full backup is the need for large storage space. Therefore, many businesses choose to use full backup along with differential or incremental backup.

This approach helps reduce the load on storage space and improves efficiency. As an illustration, let’s say you have 4 files A, B, C, and D, each 1GB in size and taking 10 minutes to back up.

On Day 1, the data copying process will take 40 minutes to back up all four files (4GB total).

On Day 2, if File B changes to B1 and File E is added, this process will take 50 minutes to back up all 5 files.

On Day 3, if File B changes again to B2, File C to C1, and File D is deleted, this process will take 40 minutes to back up the 4 new files.

When restoring, you will usually restore data from the most recent backup, which takes around 40 minutes.

2. Differential Backup

Differential backup occupies a position between full backup and incremental. This type of backup involves backing up data that has undergone changes since the last full backup.

This means that a full backup is performed initially, and each subsequent copy of the data only includes changes that occurred to the files and folders.

The main advantage of differential backup is its ability to recover data more quickly than full backup, because it only requires two backup components: the initial full backup and the latest differential backup.

As an example, you can take a case with 4 files (A, B, C, and D), each 1GB in size and taking 10 minutes to back up:

  • Day 1: Full backup for 4GB took 40 minutes.
  • Day 2: File B changes to B1, and File E is added. Files A, C, & D remain the same. Backup includes only 2 changed files and takes 20 minutes.
  • Day 3: File B changes again to B2, File C changes to C1, and File D is deleted. Backup includes 3 files (B2, C1, and E) and takes 30 minutes.

When restoring, you must restore the full backup first, then add each differential backup sequentially. In this example, to get the latest copy of the data, it would take you a total of 80 minutes (40 + 20 + 20).

Although differential backup increases backup speed, the above recovery time becomes longer.

3. Incremental Backups

Incremental backups start with a full backup and subsequent copies only keep changes that have occurred since the last copy. Businesses have the flexibility to perform these backups as often as needed, keeping only the most recent changes.

In the case of incremental backups, storage space is only required for changes (increments), resulting in fast and efficient data copies.

To illustrate, let’s assume there are 4 files (A, B, C, and D), each about 1GB, taking 10 minutes to back up:

  • Day 1, Full backup of 4GB took 40 minutes.
  • Day 2, with changes to File B (now B1) and addition of File E, the backup only included the two changed files, taking 20 minutes.
  • Day 3, with further changes to File B (now B2), File C (now C1), and deletion of File D, the backup again included the two changed files (B2 and C1), taking 20 minutes.

This incremental approach shows improvements compared to differential backup.

However, in terms of recovery, similar to the previous scenario, you need to restore the full backup first and then add each incremental backup sequentially.

If the goal is to recover recent data, it will take 80 minutes to recover (40 + 20 + 20). This is not an optimal option from a recovery perspective.

4. The Magic of Cataloging

Cataloging is a form of meta-data that provides information about your data. In the case above, the backup created has self-describing characteristics, which means it does not require additional information to restore data from the backup.

However, the meta-data resulting from the cataloging process provides important information regarding file versions, file locations on storage media, and so on.

This information can significantly improve the performance of the data recovery process. Let’s take the same example, but this time by utilizing the cataloging feature. For example, you have 4 files: A, B, C, and D, with a size of about 1GB each and a backup time of 10 minutes.

  • Day 1, you backed up 4GB and it took 40 minutes.
  • Day 2, let’s say File B changes to B1, and a new File named E is added.
  • When you run the backup on Day 2, it only backs up the two files that changed, and it only takes 20 minutes.
  • On Day 3, for example File B changes again to B2. File C also changes to C1, and File D is deleted.
  • When you run the backup on Day 3, it only backs up two more changed files (B2 and C1) (D was deleted – remember?), and it only takes 20 minutes.

When you carry out the recovery process, the catalog will automatically provide the latest version of each file such as A, B2, C1, and E, within 40 minutes.

In fact, you don’t need to bother bringing D back because the catalog knows that the file has been deleted. Modern backup software maintains a metadata catalog that records the version and location of each file in each backup, allowing for an efficient recovery process.

So, you don’t need to start with a full backup and add each incremental backup one by one. Instead, you can restore the latest version of all files in one restore process.

5. Synthetic Full backup

Synthetic Full Backup is a modern backup solution that offers synthetic full backup. Typically, this was intended to comply with archaic backup policies (which still exist) which stipulate that there should be a full backup available every week/month/year, and so on.

Instead of running a full backup every week, month, or year which is technically unnecessary modern backup software offers the option of “recreating” a full backup for you.

This is equivalent to running a restore of all the latest versions of your files but rather than actually restoring the data, this type of re-records the meta-data as if to indicate that these files are backed up again.

This is an efficient trick as it does not require moving any data but only adding/updating meta-data records.

Why It’s Important to Back Up

Here are the reasons why copying data is very important, including:

Backup Protects You From Data Loss

Data copying plays a crucial role in protecting your valuable information from the risk of loss. In situations where the computer malfunctions or the hard drive fails, the risk of losing the entire dataset becomes real.

In this context, data copies serve as a powerful fortress. Without a copy of your data, you may lose access to all your stored files and documents, which could include valuable photos, critical business documents, or irreplaceable personal data.

By regularly backing up your data, you create a secure copy of that information in a separate location, protected from the risk of hardware or system failure.

If something happens to your computer or main hard drive, you can easily restore your data to a previous version that was backed up. This means, even if the main hardware fails, the integrity and availability of your data is maintained.

It is important to remember that copying data is not only relevant for hardware failure but also involves protection against threats such as malware attacks or accidental deletion.

By getting into the habit of regularly backing up your data, you give yourself the ability to quickly and efficiently respond to various data loss scenarios, ensuring the continuity and security of your valuable information.

Backup Protects You from Malware and Ransomware

Copying data is a strong shield that can protect you from malware and ransomware threats that can hold your valuable information hostage. When a computer is infected by these types of attacks, your data can be encrypted, making it inaccessible or even recoverable.

Without proper precautions, you risk permanently losing access to important files and documents. Backing up data regularly is a proactive step that can provide effective protection against such threats.

By having isolated and protected copies of your data, you can reduce the negative impact of malware or ransomware attacks.

Even if your main computer is infected, you can restore your data to the version before the infection occurred. This provides peace of mind, because you know that your valuable information is not just in one vulnerable place.

The process of copying data allows you to have a fast and efficient solution to overcome emergency situations such as malware or ransomware attacks.

So, you can avoid paying ransoms and maintain the continuity of your information without losing valuable data.

Recover From Data Loss Faster

Considering speed in recovering data is key to maintaining productivity and smooth operations.

When data loss occurs, the time it takes to recover it can be a critical obstacle to business and daily life. This is why having a copy of data is an important factor in ensuring fast and efficient recovery.

By performing regular data copies, you have a significant shortcut to recovering from data loss. Without a copy of this data, you may have to spend a long time looking for a recovery solution or even suffer losses due to unrecoverable data loss.

The process of copying data provides assurance that the latest version of your files and documents can always be accessed quickly after an unexpected incident.

A fast recovery process means you can return to work and daily activities immediately. This speed not only saves time but also reduces the negative impact of data loss on jobs, projects or business operations.

Data Gives You Peace of Mind

When you realize that your data is backed up regularly, a feeling of peace of mind automatically comes.

In a digital world full of risk and uncertainty, having a copy of your data provides an additional layer of protection and gives you confidence that, even if something happens to your key data, you have a safe copy.

Why is this peace of mind so valuable? Because losing data can be a very stressful and detrimental experience. Without a copy of your data, you may feel anxious and uncertain about the possibility of recovery.

However, with a data copy, you have the assurance that everything you save and the value in the data can be recovered quickly and easily.

Remote Access

With data backed up, the door to access is open from anywhere in the world. This remote access facility brings significant advantages, especially for individuals who engage in remote work or travel frequently.

The existence of a copy of the data allows tremendous flexibility in managing and using information, without being limited by physical location.

When you have a copy of your data that can be accessed online, you can benefit from the freedom to work from any location in the world.

Whether you’re working from home, on a business trip, or even on vacation, you only need an internet connection to access all the files and information you need.

This is what makes working remotely smoother and more efficient. Additionally, remote access via data copy is also useful in emergency situations.

If you need critical files or important information while you are out of the office, you can easily access them without having to wait to return to the workplace.

Tips for Backing Up

Here are tips for doing backups that you need to know, including:

Decide what needs to be backed up

Regarding data copying, you have the option to design a plan that suits your personal needs and preferences.

Although we often focus on protecting the most valuable data, such as photos, videos, music, personal documents and creative digital works, which have sentimental value and are often irreplaceable, there are also other aspects you can consider backing up.

One element you might consider backing up is your system settings, including the preferences and configuration of applications, programs, as well as any special settings you specify.

By having a copy of system settings, apps, and programs, you can save time that would otherwise be spent reloading and readjusting your preferences.

This is useful when you experience a system failure or need to replace a device. With this data copy, the recovery process not only involves your valuable data but also includes all the configurations and preferences that make your digital experience unique.

If you can create a data copy plan that covers all critical aspects, both personal data and system configuration, you can ensure that every element that makes up your digital environment can be restored quickly and efficiently.

This will give you peace of mind and comfort, knowing that not only your valuable files are safe, but also all the settings that make your digital experience the way you want it.

Set a schedule

Determining a data copying schedule that suits your needs and daily workload is an important step to ensure ongoing data protection.

In determining the frequency of data copies, there are several factors to consider. First, pay attention to the type of data you have.

If you have personal data or files that change frequently, such as photos, documents, or creative projects, copying the data on a daily basis may be a reasonable choice.

By copying data daily, you ensure that the latest version of your valuable data is always safe and can be quickly restored if needed.

On the other hand, if your data does not experience significant changes every day, perhaps copying the data weekly is sufficient.

Apart from that, also consider your daily workload. If you actively work with data every day, whether for work purposes or personal projects, copying daily data will provide more real-time protection.

However, if your data usage is sporadic, weekly data copying may meet your needs without having a significant impact on system performance.

3-2-1 backup rule

Applying the 3-2-1 backup rule is a wise step to ensure the security of your data.

This rule implies that you should keep at least three copies of data, two of which are stored on different devices, and at least one copy should be stored in a secure offsite location.

This principle is designed to provide an optimal level of security against various risks that may occur. By having three copies of data, you guarantee adequate redundancy.

If one copy is damaged or lost, you still have two other copies to rely on.

It is important to ensure that the copy is truly independent, i.e., not simply a duplicate of one source.

Storing two copies on different devices helps protect data from single device failure. If one device experiences technical problems or physical damage, you still have another copy accessible.

It also includes protection against potential security vulnerabilities that may affect one device but not others. The importance of keeping at least one copy in a secure offsite location relates to disaster risk mitigation.

If an incident such as fire, flood, or other disaster occurs at the office location, copies stored in a separate place can remain safe.

Use Cloud Storage

Cloud storage services define the best method for copying data as online media. Various types of data, from files to photos, can be stored in this service, both as primary and secondary copies.

Cloud storage services offer storage capacity on their servers for a monthly payment, which you can then use to store copies of your data.

Most providers also provide encryption options to ensure data security during storage in the cloud. With internet access, cloud backups can be accessed via a computer or mobile device.

The advantages of cloud storage become apparent when you need to recover data after an incident occurs on your device. Some well-known cloud storage service providers include Google Drive, iCloud, Dropbox, Backblaze, iDrive, and Microsoft OneDrive.

Cloud storage offers various advantages over other methods of copying data, including:

  • Easy and Convenient:The process of backing up data to the cloud is fast and easy, can be done from various locations, and does not require special equipment.
  • Safe and Secure:Cloud storage security is reliable, as data is stored on servers that are protected from physical and logical threats, and are encrypted during transit.
  • Affordable:Cloud storage costs are relatively affordable, especially when compared to the initial investment and maintenance costs of conventional storage infrastructure.
  • Scalable:As data storage needs increase, cloud storage can easily scale to meet those demands.

Use an Online Backup Service

You can ensure the security of your data by utilizing online data copying services, which involve file encryption, scheduling regular backups, and storing data copy files in a safe place.

Copying data online is the best choice to maintain the security of your data in the face of potential damage or theft to your computer device.

This service provides security features such as file encryption and password protection, allowing you to schedule data copying processes regularly, whether full or incremental backups.

This way, you don’t need to worry about losing valuable data. In addition, most online data copying services also provide the option to store backup files in a safe location, so that your data remains fully protected and protected.

Use an External Hard Drive

There are two main categories of external drives that you can get, namely HDD (hard disk drive) and SSD (solid-state drive). HDD is considered an old technology with a longer lifespan and more affordable prices when compared to SSD.

That said, SSDs offer much faster copy speeds and are usually more portable, making them a superior choice even at a higher cost.

There are several ways to back up important data using an external drive. you can do it by:

Utilize the built-in backup software on your computer

Most computers come with built-in software that automatically backs up files to an external storage device.

You just need to connect the external drive to your computer, and the software will handle the rest. For example, Apple computers use Time Machine for automatic data copy.

Using a third party backup program

If you don’t want to use the computer’s built-in software, an alternative is to use a third-party data copying program. This program can be faster and more efficient because it relies on cloud-based software.

Copy files manually

Although it takes more time, this option is a good choice if you are reluctant to use backup software.

When looking for an external hard disk, make sure it is compatible with your computer and has sufficient storage capacity to perform a full operating system backup.

Additionally, it is recommended to choose a dedicated drive for data backup and a separate drive for daily use.

Use a USB Flash Drive

A USB flash drive is a very practical portable storage solution for storing important files from your computer.

Because the size of a USB drive is generally smaller than an external hard drive, it is more efficient to use it only to store truly essential files or documents, rather than backing up the entire system.

Here are the steps to back up data using a USB flash drive:

  1. Connect the flash drive to your computer.
  2. Open Windows Explorer (or Finder on Mac ) and find the drive in the left column.
  3. Drag and drop the files and folders you want to back up onto the drive.
  4. Once complete, remove the flash drive by clicking the “Safely Remove Hardware” icon in the system tray (PC) or menu bar (Mac).

Use Optical Media

Optical media solutions such as CDs or DVDs can be used to make copies of your data. There are various burning tools that allow you to copy and create images of important files and documents.

The use of optical media is considered effective because it provides a physical backup of data that can be stored safely. However, it should be noted that this method is not always practical, and there is still a risk of data loss if the disk is damaged or scratched.

Another alternative to backing up sensitive data using optical media is to utilize a service like Mozy or Carbonite.

This service allows you to store data in the cloud and then download it to an optical disk. Optical media is a good choice, especially if you have limited space to store physical backups.

Invest in a Network Attached Storage (NAS) Device

If you’re serious about keeping your data secure, consider investing in a Network Attached Storage (NAS) device.

NAS is a dedicated server that provides storage and file-sharing capabilities over a network both for your home environment and your small business.

Unlike an external hard drive connected to a router, a NAS is designed to stay active and connected continuously, allowing data access at any time and from anywhere.

There are many advantages to using a NAS, but the two main aspects worth paying attention to are reliability and security.

With a NAS, your data is stored on a special server, so it is not vulnerable to the risks that a PC or laptop might face.

For example, if your computer is damaged or infected with malware, your data remains safe on the NAS.

NAS devices are also equipped with various security features, including password protection and encryption, which play a role in keeping your data safe from prying eyes.

Have a backup buddy

Since keeping a backup drive in an external location can be a difficult task to keep in mind and update, you may need more than just a calendar reminder to keep things going.

I suggest that you have a “backup buddy” or family member who can be relied on as a friend who helps keep your backups safe.

A backup buddy is someone who can ensure that your backups are maintained, while you can do the same for them. By having a backup buddy, you can meet regularly to swap backup drives and ensure that both remain safe.

As an added incentive, it’s also a great opportunity to enjoy a cup of coffee together, have lunch together, or even take a walk in the park or along the river.

Share your backup data with other people

If you have relatives or friends who may not be as tech-savvy, consider providing assistance in putting together a comprehensive backup plan for them.

This action not only makes you a very helpful individual, but it can also prove beneficial in the future.

There is a cautionary tale about an elderly aunt who kept a collection of family photos and genealogy from one generation to the next on a cloud device, without physical backup.

When he died, no one realized that this valuable data was stored, and it was eventually lost when his cloud storage account was deemed inactive and deleted.

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