In order to avoid data loss, having a concerted data backup plan is essential for all companies, as well as home users. There are a variety of different solutions available, from high end automatic offsite backup to simple on-system backup programs to something as easy as a file compression utility.
Your Company's Backup Plan
Being prepared for the eventual failure of computers within your company is a superb way to conserve resources in the future, and save data which could be damaged in a disaster situation. This program should evolve as your company's systems, computers and networks expand.
If your IT resources are quite expansive, do not be afraid to consult outside data backup experts for help. The data storage industry is expanding both its reach and solutions, and will likely be able to ensure you have the best application for your needs. Alternatively, you can always consider software or an in-house solution, which may be the best scenario for high end systems all the way down to single PCs.
RAID And Server Data Backups
For high-end applications, such as with RAID arrays, enterprise servers and web servers, offsite storage centers are a good choice. Typically, these companies use a technique called "Server Mirroring", which keeps a real-time copy of your server data at a remote facility. Using direct connections, a backup server essentially writes data to its hard drives whenever your main server is updated. In this way, if your company's main mission critical server goes down, the backup can be quickly started without any delays or user issues.
Individual PC Backup
For individual PCs, backup programs can usually be purchased for anywhere between $10 and $5,000, with the degree of complexity and feature sets depending on the expense. For PCs which contain important data (which is usually most of them), having an automatic solution is obviously a benefit, as the "human backup" always has the potential for human error. A good data backup program with automatic features will usually run you between $50 to about $250. There are many which provide excellent features which are easy to use.
Backup On The Cheap
To back up your hard disk drive cheaply (not recommended for Business computers!), consider using WinZip, or some other file compression-oriented program. In most cases, it is probably not necessary to completely backup your hard drive, as many of the programs can always be reinstalled if a physical hard drive crash occurs. To make this strategy work, all you must do is ensure that you do this regularly (once or twice weekly), and make sure to save all of your files to one directory (for Windows machines, your "My Documents" folder works well. Then, just make sure to compress and backup your important folders, and then save them to portable media, such as CD-RW or DVD-RW. This is a good way to ensure your data is backed up and is easy on the pocketbook.
Do not forget to backup your data! Reliable Windows backup software for business and home users.
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