Data Backup

Data backup is necessary for any organization. Computers are machines and they break, they will not break only when it is convenient for you. Backing up your important data is essential to maintaining access to or restoring information. It is important to remember that backup means there are at least two copies of your files. A cost benefit analysis needs to determine how much it would cost your company to lose data as compared to the cost of backing-up that data. Determine what data, how much of it and how often it needs to be backed-up.

Your organizations or personal data retention policy needs to define the categories of data being backed-up, the minimum data retention time and the maximum (if any) retention time for the data. After making your backup verify the integrity of it. Backups are generally created on removable media and then stored in a safe place. It is recommended to store your backups in a separate location in case of fire, floods, earthquakes or other disasters. The type of removable media to be used depends on how much data there is and how often it needs to be stored.

Magnetic tape is good for when there is a large amount of data to store. They can store close to a terabyte per tape. Tape drives range from two thousand to ten thousand dollars (or more), only the tapes are inexpensive.

Optical disks can carry from 750MB to 128GB. Optical disks include inexpensive CDs and DVDs and the more expensive Blu-ray Discs. A disadvantage is that optical media that is not archival quality can degrade in as fast as two years. Generally other forms of storage last much longer.

Hard disks have become more reliable over the years and can be a good solution for backup media. The main advantages of hard disk storage are low access times, availability, capacity and ease of use. The main disadvantages of hard disk backups are that they are easily damaged, especially while being transported (e.g., for off-site backups), and that their stability over periods of years is a relative unknown. Solid state drives, are also known as flash memory, thumb drives, USB flash drives, CompactFlash, SmartMedia, Memory Stick, Secure Digital cards, etc. These devices are relatively costly for their low capacity, but offer excellent portability and ease-of-use.

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