Computer Backups - Is Yours Doing What it is Supposed to Do?

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So you have your computer and you have your backup software installed but are you backing up your data?Are you sure? How do you really know? Sometimes we have things installed on our PCs that run in the background and hide behind the scenes to work their magic without us ever noticing, including backup software.
It's common thing to turn off programs or services when they're running intensively while we're in the middle of something important such as: finishing that reportby lunch, crunching those numbers for the 2 o-clock afternoon meeting, or simply trying to watch the latest episode of "The Office" on Hulu.
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You'll never know when disaster strikes, so here are some tips that will help you ensure that you don't have to suffer the horror of losing your family vacation photos, that client list, or even that important multi-million dollar sales proposal.
1.
Make sure you have a backup program or a backup client - There are several around that you can find on the Internet.
Microsoft Live One Care, Carbonite, Symantec, and Acronis make popular, affordable, and reliable choices.
2.
Choose a good backup target - There are a lot of choices today when it comes to a target (or destination) for your backups.
CD, DVD, external hard drives, network shares, on-line based backups.
3.
Make sure that your chosen software is running - It's not enough that it's installed if it's not running.
If you've turned if off because it runs at the most inappropriate times, check with your IT support or read the help files that will show you how to schedule your backups for a more convenient time.
4.
Make at least one full backup a month - It might be slow and take a long time but you'll be happy in the end when you know that your backup hasn't been corrupted.
Pick a time when you're not going to be using your computer.
5.
Make daily incremental backups - Once you have your full backup completed, the rest of the backups from that point on are simply a matter of minutes these days.
Ensuring that you have a daily backup that captures the documents that have changed, been added, or deleted for the day, will give you the best chance of recovering the most recent copy available in the even of a disaster.
6.
Test your backup integrity - Don't wait for a disaster to see if you can recover data.
After backing up data for a few days, try to recover some files to see if the backup is not corrupt.
If you find you have a corrupt backup, just run a full backup again and view any logs that may come with your software.
7.
Have multiple destinations for your backup - If your data is that important, you should consider having multiple backup destinations.
If you're backing up to a hard disk, perhaps you could keep data that doesn't get updated on a DVD and place it in a fireproof safe or a safe deposit box.
If you're backing up to a network drive, perhaps you should also backup to a portable hard drive.
The combinations are endless, but the point here is to have a plan B and/or plan C.
8.
Don't keep your backup with you - This works in the same sense has having your spare key in your glove box.
In the even of a natural disaster, robbery, theft, or other event; you want to make sure that you don't lose or damage your backup.
Keep you backup off-site or rotate backup disks so that you can take the previous nights backup with you to work and leave it in your locked drawer.
9.
Secure your backup - Having encrypted data on a laptop or desktop doesn't mean it will keep it's encrypted state when it's backed up.
Ensure that you have enabled backup encryption and that you have the password stored somewhere safe.
If you lose your password, you've lost your backup.
10.
Find a sidekick - Having your data backed up and secure is one thing, but you should also plan for your absence and make sure that another trusted party can access and retrieve any critical data in case something ever happens to you.
Disaster can happen at a moments notice.
Make sure that you're not caught off guard by being prepared with a safe and sound backup strategy.
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