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April 18, 2013

Cloud Backup – Why Do I Need It?

Have you ever been approached by an online backup service provider and thought: “I don’t need it!”

“I look after my stuff and the chances that anything will happen to make me lose my data is extremely remote,” you tell yourself. “It would be a waste of time and money. In any case, I am backing up my most important data to a USB memory stick.”

You may react this way, because you are taking special care to keep your computer equipment safe and protected from damage as well as taking precautions against theft. You may even back up your most important data to an external drive or memory USB stick on a regular basis, e.g. once a month.

But is this enough?

  • Do you always remember to backup your latest changes and additions during the past month?
  • Is once a month enough to backup your data — or even once a week? Is there not critical work that you sometimes do that needs to be backed up immediately, even as you type?
  • Do you actually remember which changes or additions you made to which files, or which documents during the past month?
  • Do you keep a thorough record of the versions of all the files you backed up so that you know which is the latest one — or the one with a particular paragraph or image?
  • When last did you test to see if you could recover any of these files successfully?
  • Have you ever thought of using or purchasing dedicated backup software, but decided against it, because it could be too technical for you?
  • Do you store your backup medium at a different and secure site away from your home or office? And how secure is this off-site storage from theft, water, fire, etc.?
  • What about people having access to your backup data and prying into documents or e-mails that may contain sensitive or business critical information?

According to statistics, one out of four people do not back up their data at all — and women seem to be more guilty of this. Only one out of 10 people backup their data every day and about 50 percent of people use either an external hard drive or a memory/USB stick for their backup – mostly stored at the same venue as the computer where the data originated from.

The ideal situation is to backup your data at least once every day and some critical data even continuously as the data changes. Secondly, your backups should, ideally, be stored in an off-site remote and very safe place, in case of a burglary, fire, flooding, etc. that can happen at the venue where the computers with the original data are situated.

With the technology that is available today, and at economical cost,  losing your critical or valuable data is unnecessary. Remote or online backup over the Internet is abundantly available today – sometimes even at no cost for small amounts of data.

All the problems with normal backup procedures are overcome by this technology and there are no longer any valid excuses not to back up your data on a regular or continuous basis. It can be done automatically, without having to move a finger — except, of course, for the original setup.

The advantages of this kind of online backup are numerous:

  • You do not have to remember to backup your data. After scheduling the type and frequency of backups, you can sit back and relax because either your files will be backed up as you change them or at least be backed up every day at a time you are not busy on your computer — like overnight.
  • Your data is secure from any prying eyes because it is encrypted on the fly as it leaves the disk. An encryption password known only by you is required to de-encrypt that data into a readable format.
  • The backups are stored off-site in a specially prepared and secured computer and data storage room, and most of the time, the backups are made redundant at a second backup site  for extra security (in case of an earthquake, fire, etc. destroying the first backup site)
  • We can backup files, folders, disks, databases or whole computers – and it is instantly recoverable when required.

Gartner identified the growth of the “personal cloud” as one of the main trends for 2013. So why don’t you take some good advice and act before it is too late. Investigate online backup suppliers that offer automatic backup services of your critical data in the cloud. It is so easy to start and to activate the service and there are many free trials available from countless suppliers. Do it now and it will give you that peace of mind knowing  you are covered for any kind of disaster that can possibly destroy your valuable information.

Ernest Klokow is passionate about automatic online backup since he lost all his data to a severe disk crash. He now promotes online backup wherever he can and also assists with online backup companies like Soteria Online Backup to spread the news.

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