Hard drive backup and recovery is something you should be concerned about, especially if you have any information on your computer or network that would be costly or even impossible to replace, such as personal photos or documents.
Many options are available and each have their pros and cons. Ultimately, you’ll need to decide what to use based on how much information you have to back up, how critical it is, how much you have in your budget (which can even be nothing), and what is the most likely reason that you will need to recover the information.
The first type of backup is a local or direct-attached backup. This is an actual second hard drive that is attached to your computer. This can include a thumb drive up to a hard drive the same size as the hard drive on a desktop computer.
These devices often come with software so that they automatically back up your data as long as they are attached to your computer. Many of these devices are portable and can be used to transfer large amounts of data to another computer.
This type of backup works very well if your biggest concern is your computer’s hard drive failing. However, if you keep the device attached to your computer, it won’t help you if some type of disaster, such as fire or flood, destroys your computer since it will most likely destroy the backup as well. If you use a portable device, it would be easier to grab and take with you if you were forced to evacuate in the face of an impending disaster.
These devices can be expensive, but they can store large amounts of data and do it very quickly. Of course, the larger the storage space and the faster they work, the more expensive they will be.
Online systems can be used for hard drive backup and recovery
Another option for backup is to use an online backup system, which has become known as a cloud backup. Many of these are free, and they are generally pretty easy to use and maintain. They also will keep your storage safely away from your computer, so you are more likely to not lose your data in the event of a disaster.
One of these free services is Microsoft’s Windows Live SkyDrive, which offers 25 Gigabytes (GB) of space. However, it does not offer a service that will back up your data automatically, so you have to manually upload the data yourself. This would be helpful if you have a large library of photos, videos or music you want to back up.
SugarSync will back up your data automatically for free and even allow you to share files, but it only offers 5GB of storage. This would work for critical documents that are routinely updated. If you do need more storage backed up automatically, SugarSync does offer up to 250GB for private use and unlimited storage for business for monthly fees. Dropbox offers a similar service, but its free storage is only 2GB.
While online backup is cheap and convenient, it does require access to an Internet connection. Plus, online backup is generally slower and has less storage than a local backup. It also would be cheaper in the long run to use a local instead of paying monthly fees if you need more than a small amount of storage.
For extremely critical data, you may want to consider using both a local and online backup. If you are unsure what would be best for you, you may want to consider using a computer tech support company that can help you determine how best to provide for hard drive backup and recovery.