It seems to have happened to everyone at some point – you’ve got a particular file you really need, an assignment, some photos – really just any data on your computer and suddenly for any number of reasons its now unable to be opened.
I’ve retrieved data for a lot of clients in this instance, however there are a few things that you can do that will prevent this from happening in the first place.
The first of course is to backup your data. I often get asked what is the best way to do this – there are several different ways (which I will go through below) but it comes down to what is important to you most. If you just need certain files in case a computer fails and you need to get up and running quick somewhere else you can use something as simple as an external hard drive or thumb drive and save to that drive and to your computer as well. Why save to multiple places? Simple – if you have the space available or different drives keep multiple copies as you never know what could fail and when. If you’re relying on saving to a USB drive and it suddenly dies you’ll be very glad that you saved that important file in more than one place
Home Backup Software
There is a heap of different backup softwares available if you don’t want to rely on cloud based sync tools. Depending on which operating system you are using there are different packages available.
For windows I recommend http://www.acronis.com/en-au/personal/computer-backup/ as its quite simple to use and gives you multiple different options of backups including incremental and full backups. It’s also not incredibly expensive.
For Mac I’ve found Time Machine to be an amazing tool for backing up. You can restore individual versions of files, so if you’ve made a huge mistake you’ve still got the ability to revert to yesterdays file easily – you can use any external drive to create a time machine backup including NAS shares. For example for my Macs at home they use time machine to backup to an external NAS that has a RAID 1 mirror – this means that my NAS and 2 hard drives have to fail before I would lose my data. Despite having this I still keep a lot of data stored in the cloud as well.
These days we have several smarter options for backups including Dropbox, Google Drive, iCloud & Box – these are all cloud based solutions that are very cost effective and quite simple to use. Dropbox is probably one of the most commonly used and understood by people – there are different levels of each service available that range from being free to paid based on the data required.
The advantage of cloud backups is that they are stored external from your computer, if your computer completely failed and you’ve been using a cloud based backup tool you will be able access your files elsewhere quite easily by logging in online. If you get a new computer getting your files back is normally as simple as downloading a sync tool and signing in to the platform.
If you use a cloud based solution we recommend turning on security features such as 2 Factor Authentication so that people need more than just your password to be able to access your data.
Be aware for certain types of businesses there is legislation that requires you to keep your data stored within Australia so some cloud storage providers may not be suitable for you.
Backing up files vs Bare Metal Backups
If you’ve ever heard the term bare metal backup it probably didn’t make a lot of sense. Bare metal backups refer to backups that can fully rebuild a computer back to a completely operational state – so not just your office documents and photos. When you are considering what you need to backup you should consider if a bare metal backup is required, this is generally only used in environments that are reliant on servers so that if there is a catastrophic failure there is minimal downtime.
So remember that backing up your files means just that, a copy of your files whereas a bare metal backup means a backup thats capable of fully restoring the functionality of a system.
I didn’t backup I think I’ve lost all my data what do I do?
If you have lost data you shouldn’t panic – well at least not yet. Get in contact with me here and we can help you out by trying to restore your files and set you up with a backup routine to suit your requirements
If we can’t reocover your data (our data recovery options are limited) there’s a great business based in Queensland – Kroll Ontrack Data Recovery that will be able to assist you, however be aware that data recovery can be a very expensive exercise and is only recommend when you absolutely 100% need your data recovered. We use this company instead of others as they are most of the time able to give you a preview of the files they are able to retrieve before you commit to a full recovery whereas other companies we have found do not offer this service.
Have you had a bad data experience? Leave a comment in the section below and let me know what happened!