Backup Software - What It Is and Why You Need To Have It
While some of us may do, a huge proportion of the population probably do not have a robust strategy for how to protect themselves against lost data or files. For while the majority of us most probably know that we need to backup our data to protect against its loss, we may not have the best backup software or backup service solutions in place.
In this article, we look at addressing this issue by exploring what exactly backup software is and how to decide on the best backup software for you or your business. In doing so, we make a number of recommendations for backup service solutions so that you can make choices with confidence about what software to implement.
What Is Backup Software?
Before knowing how to pick the best online backup service for you however, you really need to fully understand what backup software is. It is only by truly understanding what it is and how it works, that you can pick the best solution for you.
In short, backup software is a way of copying your files or data that you have saved on your main hard drive and devices elsewhere. In doing so, the idea is that you protect that data or those files from being lost forever should your main hard drive be damaged or infected in some way.
Why Is Backup Software Important?
It is important to remember that backup software is a way of protecting yourself against a series of different threats. Those threats don’t necessarily have to be in the form of hackers and online criminals infiltrating your systems – though this is most definitely something that can also cause data to be lost or damaged and why we all need to have antivirus software in place too.
Instead, data loss can be caused for all manner of different reasons such as:
- Hard drives crashing. Sometimes technology fails us without us being prepared or notified in some way. A backup service can protect you against data loss should this happen and cause any further effects from the loss in productivity.
- Environmental damage. Accidents happen and computers or devices can get ruined or damaged so that they are inoperative. The result of them being unusable is that anything saved on them is essentially inaccessible so the data is all but lost. If it isn’t lost, it will at least be damaged so it is illegible. If you backup your data – particularly if it is physically backed up elsewhere from the original location – you will have stopped yourself from being setback by the ramifications of losing data due to environmental factors.
- Stolen devices. Despite the best intentions, devices, tablets and laptops can all get stolen. While the financial impact of this can be a huge grievance due to the cost of replacement, so can the loss of data that was kept on the stolen device. This would not be an issue if that information saved on the stolen device had been backed up.
For all these reasons, backup software is the ultimate form of insurance for individuals or companies – whether they save a great deal of information on hard drives or not. There are two sorts of people in this world – those that have lost data, and those that will. A backup can help minimize the impact that the first loss of data can cause.
How Does Backup Software Work?
While backup software will work in a variety of ways from provider to provider, the concept behind them all is fundamentally the same. Copying your files in a totally different place to where it is originally stored will prevent undue stress and loss of productivity should that original data be lost or damaged in some way.
The copies of those files are then stored so that they can be accessed and used should an instance arise where the backup is needed. This storage has a number of different formats – some will use a rewritable disk, some will use external hard drive, some will simply use another drive or, as is increasingly popular, some will use online storage as a way to backup their data.
If you are using a physical device to backup your work, you will need to have a procedure in place that actively replicates all the files that you have on your hard drive. This can be done by a user copying across all files on a regular basis, or sometimes some devices will allow automatic syncing. That syncing will either do a full system copy or it will just update the files that have been changed since the last sync took place.
Online storage solutions, however, are becoming more and more popular. The reason being is two-fold – the whole process can be automated and scheduled, thus making it a more reliable way of backing up your data. The reason being is that when it is automated, the likelihood of it actually happening is much improved against a person being put in charge of the process. Automating the process ensures that a backup of your system happens on a regular basis, whereas using a person for the process can introduce human error.
The second reason that online storage is an increasingly popular form of backup is that the data is backed up off-site. This is great as it not only minimizes the need for physical space onsite within a home or office building, it also minimizes the risk that environmental factors will damage data storage facilities.
How Do You Decide On The Best Backup Software?
Choosing what backup software will work for you is crucial to right from the beginning. Backup software can be expensive to implement so getting the wrong service for your household or business can be a costly mistake as you may need to start the whole process from the beginning if you don’t get it right from the start. Here we look at key ways you can ensure your first and final choice is the correct one.
Firstly, ask yourself how large is your network or system that you need to backup in the first place. That can materially alter what choices are available to you from the outset. Some backup services will only allow backups to a certain limit. Additionally, some services will only allow a certain amount of versions of one file too. This may not be an issue for some, whilst for others having a copy of each and every version of a file is critical.
You also need to ask yourself where will this backup be stored. Some solutions, especially file drives, aren’t stored by the third-party provider. Instead, it is up to the customer to decide where those files are physically kept. While this can be a bonus in that security and protection of that data is then fully under the remit of you or your business, it does also mean that if the files are stored near the original hard drives, they are just as susceptible to environmental damage.
The alternative is a cloud-based storage solution which is increasingly more common and more popular. There are a couple of reasons for this – firstly, the physical problems of storage are reduced to zero. Companies or households don’t have to think about the best place to put another drive that is safe and secure – a good cloud-based storage provider should offer that as standard. But also, cloud-based storage solutions for backups tend to be more automated by their very nature. The result is that backups are actually backed up – as opposed to something that gets forgotten about on a person’s to-do list.
However, the recurring annual subscription prices of cloud-based storage may not work for some as indeed do the online hacking possibilities that can be more of an issue for cloud-stored backups. As such, a person or company needs to weigh up the pros and cons of what each of these requirements are most important to them to come to the right result for a backup software service.
Backup Software – The Bottom Line
Without a doubt, backing up your hard drives with one of the best online backup services is one of the most important things that anyone who uses a computer can do. On a personal level, so much of our lives are carried out through the use of a mobile or desktop device these days, that we make ourselves increasingly more susceptible to losing vast amounts of data if we do not back up files. For a business or company, the implications of not backing up data can be huge. If that data is lost, damaged, or stolen in some way, it can materially affect a company’s productivity and therefore their bottom line.