A Closer Look At The Backup Strategies That Will Save Your Bacon

2016-04-22 by Sara Stringer

Another holiday season is behind us. It was World Backup Day on March 31. How did you celebrate? Did you buy a loved one a hard drive? Did you sneak into their home and install a copy of Super Duper when they weren’t looking? Or did you just buy yourself a new Drobo? Are these words at all meaningful to you? If not, then there is a good chance you have under-appreciated the value and importance of backing up your data.

If you missed out on all the festivities, or if your town didn’t throw a ticker tape parade for the occasion, don’t worry. Backup day is not just a 24-hour event. It’s a season. And no matter what time of the year it is, the season is just beginning. Here’s why it’s important, and why you will want to get into the spirit:

Hard Drives Fail

The thing that is most likely to fail on your computer is that spinning hard drive holding every piece of data that matters to you. Did you opt for the really fast spinning hard drive? Great! The moving parts move even faster and run even hotter. Expect to have to replace it sooner rather than later.

Fortunately, there are some warning signs that things are going bad. Secure Data Recovery is a company with quite a bit of experience recovering important data from dead drives. They list some of the problems associated with imminent hard drive failure:

  1. Missing or Corrupted Files - As a hard drive's heads break down, they may not read and write information correctly, which can result in either of these symptoms.
  2. Slow Computer Operation - This symptom is another early indicator of damage to the heads or spindle.
  3. Power Failure - A hard drive may not spin up or make any sounds. This often indicates electronics failure.
  4. Abnormal Sounds - When mechanical components fail, hard drives will often make clicking, grinding or whirring sounds. These symptoms are serious, so if your hard drive makes abnormal noises, shut it off immediately.

A lot of those missing file errors or my computer is running slow complaints are the preamble to something a whole lot worse. By celebrating World Backup season, you have an excuse to take a moment and evaluate your computer and see if it is exhibiting worrying symptoms. If so, get your backups in order now.

A Picture’s Worth...

...a thousand words. Therefore, a lost picture has got to be worth at least that many tears. And a lost photo library is worth a million tears. Even crying a million tears won’t restore your lost memories. That is why it is crucial to do something that will, long before you actually lose them.

Not long ago, The Verge put together a list of options for backing up your photos. Even the worst one on the list is better than the nothing you are currently running with. It is never a good feeling to lose anything, but documents can be rewritten, music can be redownloaded, but photos once lost, can never be retaken. What are your pictures worth to you?

Your Boss Wants Results, Not Excuses

If you write your important documents with software that uses iCloud Sync or One Drive, it is almost impossible to lose your work, even with a catastrophic hard drive failure. That is because systems like these back up your work to the cloud as you write. The annual report you’ve been working on for the last few weeks is just fine.

If you are not using some type of auto-syncing cloud service, you need to be backing up to your other solution every few minutes, at the very least, once a day. Can you really afford to lose a whole day’s work? Probably not. If your job depends on what you produce, then you don’t want to ever have to explain to your boss how the computer ate your homework. She doesn’t care.

Hard Drives fail. A picture cannot be reproduced. And your job is on the line. So go ahead and celebrate World Backup Day. And remember, it's not just a day or even a season. It needs to be a way of life.

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Sara Stringer

Sara is an author who covers a wide spectrum of topics.

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