They lay witness with the ability to testify for and even against us. We protect them from falling into the wrong hands. We manipulate them, exchange them and allow them to hold our memories. They are our business, our pleasure, our thoughts and our feelings. They are our Data.
Given the quantities and frequency with which we handle our data, the obvious possibility of loss is evident. In fact, research has shown that 70% of personal computer users have experienced some form of data loss. Our dependence on smart phones, laptops, tablets and other types of portable media devices puts us at increasing and ever greater risk.
From the beginning of personal computing the first line of defense has been to apply backup techniques such as storing a copy of data in a separate and secure location. This copy is stored in it’s original and often out dated form, yet is available when the need arises.
A reliable, readily available and current copy of your data is a crucial defense against disaster. Imagine the situation…You realize your hard disk has been physically damaged or your tablet was prey to thieves. Your boss calls demanding a current version of your work first thing Monday, after you’ve spent the weekend working on the document. Your backup method should shield you in all situations possible and probable. To truly be protected it is therefore necessary to have a functional backup strategy that is applied regularly.
The decision of where and how to organize your backup becomes an important one. The selection of the media will be determined by the type of data being copied. These devices can differ greatly in price and features. Using a hard disk drive is an option that offers the best value in terms of capacity, high speed access and ease of use. The weakness with this option is the hard drives fragility, particularly during transport and through careless handling. Another choice, Optical media, finds it’s role primarily due to it’s low cost. However, it’s storage capacity is quite low. USB flash drives are more robust than hard disks, but the ratio of price and capacity is even less favorable. Data back up via the Internet through services known as “Clouds” are a developing option, but for many this advancement still represents the future to come.
A mistake often made while attempting to protect data is to create a second partition on the same physical disk containing the original material. This is a dangerous solution as it does not prevent data loss due to equipment failure. The only correct way to backup data is to duplicate content on another physical medium, preferably stored in a secondary location.
The risks to our data are numerous and varied. It can arrive from logical failures (viruses, accidental formatting, corruption, file system), electronic circuit faults (lightning, power surges, chip burn-out), or mechanical damage (physical damage such as dropping or factory defects). If you experience any of these events without preparing your back-up it is imperative to turn to a professionals in data recovery. Incorrect handling of media can have dire consequences and will significantly reduce the success rate of specialized laboratories.
Backup is a habit you need to acquire. Leave the rest to the professionals.