Data backup is one of the most important processes for any individual, enterprise, government organization or non-profit. Data is critical. Data is not your programs or apps. You can reinstall those with discs and reenter your license number for it. What matters are the files you created with that software. For most people this means your photos, documents and spreadsheets, and music. And if you’re a business your accounting file. Of course these need to be protected against loss loss or damage. So how do you do that exactly? It is called “redundancy.” You need to have those file in at least two places. They are already on your computer and you should have them on another device in case of a catastrophic event with your computer or facility.
And, please allow me to demystify something about the cloud. It’s just another device. It’s another device at someone else’s location. Nothing more and nothing less. Your data is not floating around in the sky. So, you only have to decide if you want to send your data elsewhere for backup or if you’re capable of doing your own backup on site. I do my own back-up and it is very, very easy but below I’ll lay out the advantages and disadvantages of both types so you can make in informed decision.
ð Ease of access – Armed with just a login id and password you can access all your files anytime, anywhere with ease. Although I’m not sure why you would want to do this. It’s a back-up right?
ð Security – No worries of your data being stolen or lost in a fire. Your files are securely encrypted and made available only to those who you permit to access.
ð Speed – Data transfer depends on the speed of your internet connection. If there are big files to be transferred and a slow internet connection you may have to cultivate patience.
ð Cost – You need to pay on a monthly or a yearly basis, though the charges may be low it needs to be considered based on your usage.
ð Control – You do not have full control over your data. If your service provider decides to run maintenance on the storage, you can hardly do anything but wait for the system to start again.
External Hard Drive or Flash Drive Back-Up
ð Cost Effective & Simple – The prices for storage is fast decreasing. A 2 TB (which is an absurd amount of storage) external hard drive will cost you around $120 USD at Amazon.com or Ebay and if you ever need to increase your storage all you need to do is replace the existing one with a higher storage capacity.
ð Speed – A transfer speed of USB 3.0 means huge amount of data can be transferred in just a matter of minutes or hours.
ð Security – With an external hard drive you are in total control of your data. You can protect it with a password which means you are the only one who can access it.
ð Simplicity – You don’t’ need to use the automatic backup feature of your external hard drive or flash drive. I prefer to simply drag and drop my data. Then 30 days later, I delete the information on the external device and drag and drop the updated folders again. Very smart and simple
ð Security – Though your data can be securely encrypted, you always run the risk of losing your hard drive or someone else stealing it. But I think this is not likely.
ð Technical Problem – With the external hard drive you always run the possibility of the drive failing or crashing. But if you have redundancy in data (remember this from earlier) you have one copy at all times.
ð Onsite – If you have a fire it is possible that both of your devices will be destroyed. All you have to do to prevent his is put a third copy on a flash drive in your bank box.
What is the best then? Both of these methods have their own benefits and drawbacks. It comes down to what you prefer. For most circumstances it is not necessary to do a cloud backup, in my opinion. But the pros and cons are above so now you can make an informed decision.