Back Up Your World: Preparing for World Backup Day 2013

Published On March 27, 2013 | App & Software

If you’re like most people, you don’t have an organized backup plan for the critical data in your life. Important data may reside on your home computer, your business computer or your smartphone, but no backup and recovery plans exist in the event of a catastrophic local storage failure. Home and casual business users are not the only populations who have put themselves at risk. According to Symantec, a leading authority in data security, 36 percent of information technology professionals surveyed were not certain that their critical data could be recovered successfully.

In an effort to increase awareness of safe backup procedures, a group of Reddit users led by Ismail Jadun declared March 31, 2012 “World Backup Day.” In 2013, the organizers of the second annual World Backup Day are poised to continue to rally the public regarding the importance of effective backup procedures. Here are some devices to examine and solutions to investigate as you prepare for “WB-Day” on March 31.

Personal or Business Computer

Home and business users routinely save data to their computer’s local hard drive. Much of this data would be difficult or impossible to recreate and should be backed up in the event of a major computer malfunction. Despite the reliability of modern hard drives, head crashes and software failures do happen with alarming regularity. Having both local and cloud-based backup solutions is the best insurance against data loss.

NAS Systems

Local data backup can be accomplished with a relatively inexpensive Network Attached Storage (NAS) system. NAS systems such as the Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex can provide simple and efficient local backup for both PC and Mac computers. Windows Backup and Restore and OSX Time Machine can also be used to create local data backups.

Cloud-Based Backup

Accomplishing cloud-based backup has become relatively easy with the advent of services such as CrashPlan. Mac or PC users with CrashPlan accounts can create incremental cloud-based backups with ease, and they can use these backups to restore data in the event of a main drive crash. CrashPlan users can back up computer files on the company’s servers, or they can use an innovative option that allows one CrashPlan user to back up data to another user’s computer.

Archive Emails

Email archives are often overlooked when a data backup plan is being developed. Gmail is increasing its user base rapidly, and it is becoming increasingly important to be able to archive messages stored on Google’s servers in the unlikely event of a Google outage. If you don’t use Gmail, you’ll still want to protect your important messages.

For Gmail users, Backupify is a solution that allows you to back up all of your Google applications, including your precious email. For those who use a desktop email client, Mozilla’s Thunderbird can also archive email.

Smartphones

Users of smartphones often store critical data files in the phone’s local directories. It’s very important for smartphone users to have a strategy for backing up these critical files. Android phones and iOS devices have excellent options for local and cloud backup, and all users should be encouraged to take advantage of such solutions.

Applications such as Titanium Backup for Android allow the user to make full backups of the device’s data and applications; these backups can be saved in local storage or stored in the cloud using the DropBox service.

Devices with iOS can back up applications, data, photos and contacts locally via synchronization with iTunes, or you can create a cloud backup using iCloud or Dropbox.

As World Backup Day 2013 approaches, prepare to protect your data against loss by determining what and where your critical files are and choosing backup solutions that are right for you.

— By Jennifer Thayer

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