Data loss is inevitable. Hard drives will fail, it’s just a matter of when. That’s not meant to instill fear in the hearts of many, but rather serve as a reminder that having reliable and current copies of your data is an absolute must!
In a 2007 study, Google revealed the hard drive failure rate in it’s massive server farms. They determined that most hard drives have a significantly increased chance of failing after 3 years.
Google indicated that failure rates between drive models or brands are not significant. Rather, age is much more relevant. That said, hard drives are mass-assembled, and can theoretically fail at any time, but on average, 3 years appears to be the point at which failure becomes much more likely.
Hard drive temperatures and wear and tear from day to day use play a significant role. A hard drive that works hard on a constant basis is likely to develop problems faster than one that is used less often.
The question is – is the data on your hard drive the only copy you have? If the answer is yes, it’s time to seriously consider creating backups, but what is the most effective way to accomplish this?
Nerds On Site often recommends a “3-prong” solution, which is to say 3 current copies. If one fails, you have two others. If your second copy is sitting beside your computer and is the victim of the same fire, flood, or power surge, the third copy (off-site) will come in handy!
Nerds Backup (referral link) or Carbonite (offer code link) are terrific off-site solutions. We’d love it if you chose Nerds Backup, but to be honest, we just want you to backup, regardless of the service you choose! It sends chills down our spines when we get the frantic phone calls from people convinced they’ve lost their precious family photos or other irreplaceable files! Those are calls we would love to not have happen!
Many of us now have high-speed internet, so having an off-site copy of our data being incrementally encrypted and backed up to an internet service is a “set it and forgot about it” solution. You tell it once which files and folders you want it to keep an eye on and backup changes, and it does so automatically behind-the-scenes.
Any disaster, however unlikely, that affects your local backups is guaranteed to not affect your off-site backup! Now THAT is peace of mind!
That said, some people, such as those living in rural communities, or with limited access or low data caps – so an off-site solution isn’t very practical. In those cases, it may be preferred to have a second external hard drive, and using something akin to the Backup and Restore utility in Windows 7 to automatically backup once a week at the same day and time, providing the external drive and computer are both turned on. Then, storing it in your desk at work, or giving it to someone close to you as your off-site backup.
There is an excellent article about off-site backup up on Lockergnome.com. Here is an excerpt:
“What is off-site storage? It can be as simple as a Dropbox (referral link) or SkyDrive account. It can be as formal as a Carbonite account. The only point is to at least have your data somewhere else. You might remember to grab the external backup drive when you flee an oncoming tornado, but you might be more busy getting some quick essentials for life. While the point of off-site storage for a business would be to get back up and running as quickly as possible after a calamity, the goal of off-site storage for an individual might be to simply save data for later recovery.”
The biggest reason people don’t backup their stuff – it takes time and effort, and doing it manually can be a huge hassle. Finding ways to automate the process for the most part is a necessity.
If you are hesitant, or have any questions, feel free to give us a call, and one of our Nerds will be happy to set you up with a backup strategy that suits your needs and lifestyle! 1-877-696-3737 or visit www.nerdsonsite.com!