Don't be a fool. Back up your systems today.
One day, not too long ago, I found myself in a great pickle when the hard drive on my laptop failed. I was in the middle of completing a project when the computer screen went black, and then it wouldn't power on. That laptop contained my whole digital life because I had no backups of its data. I was fortunate because I had some tech-savvy people in my life, and they were able to retrieve most of the data from the dead hard drive before we disposed of it. That event taught me an important lesson. Have a backup plan.
Digital data is precious to all of us these days, and that's why March 31st is set aside as World Backup Day. The entire purpose of this social movement is to help safeguard people from losing their data.
What is a backup?
A backup, in plain terms, is a copy of all your important files - family photos, home videos, documents, emails - irreplaceable elements. The backup should be stored somewhere other than your main computer hard drive. You keep a copy of those files somewhere safe. Backing up your data should be a common practice, but losing files is more common than you think. According to WorldBackupDay.com -
- 21% of people have never made a backup
- 113 phones are lost or stolen every minute
- 29% of data loss cases are caused by accident
- 30% of all computers are already infected with malware
For these reasons and so many more, World Backup Day urges people to take the pledge and create at least one backup of their data on March 31st.
What are some options for backups?
Even though World Backup Day only directs people to make one backup, the truth is an entire backup strategy should be followed. A method called the 3-2-1 Rule outlines a process where you make 3 copies of your data (one primary, two backups) using 2 different media types (for example, external hard drive and cloud storage) and have 1 offsite copy. This method helps you build a system of redundancy in the event of an emergency.
Contingency plans are crucial to any company that stores digital data, and every company should have an IT Disaster Recovery Plan. That plan includes different types of backups, such as daily, weekly, and project-based backups. Since data can be easily lost, corrupted, compromised, or even stolen, having an IDRP is an integral part of the larger business continuity plan that every company should have.
Even though the backups we've been referring to so far have related to the digital files on a local computer, websites cannot be overlooked in your backup plan. After all, your website is your digital portal to market your company to the public. Depending on your site's platform, you might have several different options. Again, following the 3-2-1 method is an intelligent choice. In this case, the source data is what lives on your website hosting service server. Here are some ways to create your duplicate copies to save as backups.
- Download your files using FTP. This option requires a little know-how with the setup of the FTP client and then knowing where to find the files you want to backup.
- cPanel Backup. This method is a user-friendly control panel that many hosting providers offer to their clients so they can manage their files without hosting support reps. The cPanel provides a backup option, which is still manual but easier than an FTP download option because you create a full backup of your site as one element rather than copying individual files.
- WordPress plugin. If you are using WordPress as your CMS, there are a number of plugins that can provide an easy, automated backup process for you.
- Use a third-party service. This option is very hands-off for the site owner, and it puts the backup in the hands of a vendor. This typically requires setting up an account with the third-party vendor and granting them root access. Then they take care of the backups for you. It's a bit risky since you trust an outside source with your backups.
Whether you create backups, today is the day to start developing that strategy if you don't currently have one. Take the time at the end of your day to start a backup of your entire computer and start a plan for an ongoing backup schedule. Taking the time to make a backup plan is better than taking the time to recreate projects from scratch.
If you need assistance with creating a backup plan or exploring backup options for your site, contact us today, and we can help you strategize your next move.