Dec 012011

Data Backup

Failures in a computer system can arise at any time, without prior notice. If you use your computer to store your valuable data, it is important to have a properly configured, tested and active data backup system. In the unfortunate event of your computer suffering a serious data loss event, access to a valid backup will be critical.

Backup Methods and Means of Storage

Following are some of the methods and means of storage used in achieving a data backup.

Backing up your Data to an Optical Disk (CD, DVD, BD)

Depending on the size of your data an optical disk may be sufficient for backup purposes.

Optical Disks aren’t as common as some of the other methods mentioned below, but they are still used by many people. These disks may be of two types, ones that only allow you to write to them once and ones that allow you to write to them many times (known as rewriteable disks). CD stands for Compact Disk and can hold about 700 MB of data. DVD stands for Digital Video Disc and can hold about 4.7 GB of Data (Single Side, Single Layer). BD stands for Blu-Ray Disc and can hold about 25 GB of data (Single Side, Single Layer).

Backing up your data to a Hard Drive

You can backup to a hard drive, which can be internal (inside the computer case), external (typically connected by a USB Cable) or attached via the network (Network Attached Storage). Modern hard drives offer capacity as high as 3 TB (1 TB = 1000 GB), which is generally large enough to back up complete contents of a typical computer, multiple times. You can backup a huge number of movies, songs, pictures and documents all at the same time.

Backing up your data to a Flash Drive or a Memory Card

You can backup to a flash drive. This is similar in concept to an external hard drive, except that flash drives and memory cards are generally much smaller physically as well as storage capacity wise (modern flash drive and memory cards generally max out at around 32 – 64 GB). These devices connect via USB port of your computer or internal/external memory card readers.

Backing up your data to the Internet (Online Backup)

Online backups are useful because they provide data protection against computer equipment damage which occurs due to a catastrophic event such as a fire or flood. They also provide protection against theft where the thief takes your computer as well as your backups.

This backup depends on the presence of a reliable internet connection and may take longer to carry out compared to other methods. Providers of online backups typically offer various plans with different storage capacities for which you usually pay a monthly or yearly fee.