You are at the end of your day or your week and you think, “I must backup my files, but I don’t really have time, so I will do it tomorrow”. We’ve all been there, you’ve got pictures, music, work files, personal documents, videos of the kids that all need backing up to your external hard drive. Of course, you first need to find the new items which are obviously spread all over your computer, then you need to connect your external hard drive to your computer and then wait for the “copy and pasting” to finish. What an absolute bore.
There are two things that are wrong with the first paragraph. The first is, “I don’t really have time, so I will do it tomorrow” and the second is “backing up to your external hard drive”. If you are one of those individuals still using an external hard drive to copy and paste your files as a backup solution, or you are a person who is always “doing it tomorrow” then this article is just for you.
Looking back historically, pictures were stored within physical photo albums, videos were all nicely organised on VHS tapes and documents were filed away in the filing cabinet. More recently these files are stored on CD/DVDs, external hard and flash drives, digital photo albums or allocated folders on your computers. It is likely that they are also stored on multiple computers and devices and with numerous versions available both new and old that you keep “just in case”. Well “just in case” is not a linear term and you cannot predict the day when your device will not only fail but the data will be unrecoverable.
I am not just talking about your computer either, external hard drives are just as fragile and are notorious to just one day turn on and all you hear is the hard disk making strange grinding and skipping noises. So after all your hard work of “copy and pasting” to your external hard drive or a separate partition on your computer hard drive, it was pretty much all for nothing as everything is now gone. Not to mention that if your backup files are available, it is highly unlikely they will even be up-to-date. So what are you going to do now?
The answer is, don’t wait. Do not wait for that day to arrive, invest in an online backup solution now as not only will all of your files be backed up every day securely, available to be restored whenever you need, but the backup process will happen without any intervention from you, thus making the reliance on manual backing up completely redundant.
How does it work then?
Online Backup works using your internet connection. All of your files are copied to secure off-site file servers over the internet and then every day the online backup software is scheduled to make incremental back-ups of any new or changed files. You are also usually able to access up to 30 versions of your backups so that if you need to restore a document that was changed 12 days ago, then you can do just that. You can schedule the backup process to occur any time of day, week and some will even shutdown your computer for you once complete. It is quick, easy to use and you will feel totally assured that your files are backed up and available for restoration should disaster strike.
I understand how it works, but is it safe?
Yes it is safe as the internet connection uses a secure socket layer (SSL) to transfer the data, as well as the data being encrypted during the file transfer process and stored encrypted on the file servers. All of the file servers are located in large underground data-centres, monitored with sophisticated climate and security equipment with backup internet lines to ensure network uptime.
What about Data Protection?
All of your data is encrypted on the file servers and you are the only person to have the ability to decrypt and restore your files using your own decryption password. This ensures that you have total control over your files. In terms of legality, if you use an IT company in the United Kingdom ask them which country their backup servers are located. If they are stored within the EU, then they will all be compliant to the UK Data Protection Act. If the servers are located in the United States, make sure the company that owns the servers have signed up to the Safe Harbour Policy which is an extension to the UK Data Protection Act and is deemed acceptable and safe to transfer your data to.
What if the backup server goes down?
The majority of online backup companies use secondary backup servers for replication that hold your data as well. This ensures the availability of your information if their primary server fails.
But I need to be reliant on my internet connection
This is true and if your internet connection happens to go down at your home or office, the backup transfer will automatically continue from the last point when the connection is restored. Should your internet connection be offline when you need to restore your data, if you use a good backup company, you will also have the ability to access your files over the web from any computer, as well as download them.
Using an online backup company to safely and automatically store your personal and business files is not only vital to secure and protect your personal data continuity but it allows you to have a solution where once setup, you will not need to manually control any part of the backup process.
Don’t jeopardise your data, talk to your IT Company and ask them about their online backup solutions as using the manual “copy and pasting” to external hard drives as a backup solution will soon be treated the same as VHS tapes, a redundant historical memory.