Computer security is so multifaceted that it cannot be tailored to fit any one specific definition or approach. Comprehensive computer security comprises numerous subcategories that together add up to form a single, coherent structure. One of these subcategories that we haven’t yet touched on is data backup and the part it plays in keeping valuable data safe. Here, we are making up for this omission by reviewing the different approaches to data backup and how they work.

Backup = Insurance

Data backup enables you to save your information to a safe place and restore it later if something happens to the device on which your data normally resides. It is an indispensable tool if you want to be sure your original work, or files, or whatever data you value stays intact no matter what may threaten that data; it means you can always roll back to a previous state and restore what’s been lost or compromised. When critical information is at risk, data backup is your primary resort to be safe in knowledge that your digital valuables are not jeopardized. Data backup is especially helpful in the following situations:

What can be backed up

When you select items to back up, consider what is important to you. Essentially, the following can be backed up:

How it works

Modern backup software is relatively easy and straightforward to use. Generally, after you’ve installed it, you select the locations that you intend to backup, specify the location where these objects will be stored and press ok. Once the backups are created, you can restore them when needed. Your first backup should always be a full copy of the original location, whereas subsequent backups are incremental, backing up only content that is new or changed since the last backup. This saves time and disk space needed for backup.
Later backups can be either on-demand (you ask the program to perform backup at a desired time) or on schedule. On-schedule backups can be set to occur at regular intervals specified in the backup program itself. You might also want to consider on-event backups offered with select programs, which can be set to occur when a certain event, such as prolonged idle time or a power problem, are indicated.

Backup storage

When you back up your data, you save it to a specific destination. Usually, this destination is a large compressed file on a local device – either a removable hard drive or a high-capacity memory card. The backup location can be customized and it’s very important to keep in mind that the place where you store your backup copy should be secure – if your primary data source fails, you need to be sure you can access and use your backup. Keeping your backed-up data in a safe, dry place disconnected from the power circuit will ensure your backup will stay in good shape and enable you to get your data back in case of emergency. It’s not a good idea to keep your backup copy on your primary hard drive or an old ROM disk, because these can be exposed to disaster as much as your main storage. You can back up your data to remote storage or use one of the free or commercial online backup services available. Bear in mind that storing your data at somebody else’s facilities has advantages and drawbacks. The advantages are:

Disadvantages are:

Forms of backups:

The following forms of backup exist:

Different flavors of backup solutions

Computer backup solutions exist in both software and hardware forms. Hardware systems are usually automated, always-connected devices that copy the contents of the primary hard drive to an embedded magnetic tape or hard drive. Mirrored Raid Arrays (RAID-1) are two internal hard drives running in parallel mode, where the second drives automatically backs up the contents of the first drive on the fly. If the primary drive becomes corrupted, the contents can be recovered from the second drive. Effective against hardware HDD failure, RAID arrays are of no use in case a virus harms your main system, because the same infection will be instantly duplicated to the second drive as well, negating all efforts. RAID systems are relatively easy and inexpensive to deploy, but require a degree of expertise to manage in the first configuration stages.
Back-up functionality is present in many of today’s software applications, from Security Suites such as Norton360 to OS-bundled software such as Apple’s Time Machine and Windows’ Backup or Restore Wizard. These programs usually offer less functionality than dedicated, specialized backup tools such as Acronis True Image, but still perform basic backup tasks and are quite sufficient for many people.

Conclusion

Backing up your system is a very good habit to develop. It will save you a lot of hassle and stress in case a system malfunction or virus infection occurs. There you have it, folks – I hope you found this article informative and useful.