Backing up is Hard to Do for Some 1

Backing up    Data loss is something we all have to deal with in the digital age.  Cheap computers mean that equipment failures are a part of life.  PC component are not meant to last forever.  Who wants that anyway?   Backing up your precious data is very important and a process that should never be overlooked.  “Backing up Your Data” is a statement that is interpreted very differently by different people, often with humorous effect. Having said that, I thought it would be funny to put together a list of the kinds of backups that users perform.  See if you spot anyone you know.


The “Confused” Backup

This is usually someone not all that familiar with backing up data and software.  It may be their very first time backing up anything and they really have no idea what they are backing up exactly.  They just know they need to do it.

Case in point:

I had a friend who right clicked on their local C drive chose the COPY option, right clicked their 1GB jump drive and tried to PASTE.

The “Quick” Backup

This is often a person that is familiar with how to use a PC but not familiar with its intricate inner workings.  These folks will usually have a firm idea of what they WANT to backup but no clue what they NEED to back up.  These are the people that call you on the weekend or in the middle of the night after a power or equipment failure and have restored their backup only to find they didn’t back up their most important data.

Case in point:

Having many web customers it’s a foregone conclusion that I will get these kinds of calls.  One in particular sticks out in my mind because the user had implicitly bought an external hard drive which contained software to backup their data.  They let the software choose what to back up and didn’t review what it was backing up at all.  When the time came to restore their SQL database they were running locally. What they DID have were all their snapshots and music files.

The “IN-Differential” Backup

This is a back run usually by a pretty knowledgeable computer user or a junior IT pro.  These kinds of backups are meant to make backing up speedy by backing everything needed complete, then from then on only backing up things that have “changed”.  It is my opinion that these are great for home users but in a business environment this can lead to a lot of heartbreak as you are letting an algorithm determine what has “changed” or not.  Let’s face it; even the smartest programs are dumb.

Case in point:

I deal with databases all day long.  One instance had a furniture dealership that thought they had a complete backup but instead had a mix of about three different data sets due to a differential backup.
Be very careful with these.

The “Online” Backup

A very popular choice these days is the infamous online backup.  Slow, lethargic, unreliable and dangerous are good words to describe this method.

Case in point:

Several customer have asked me is online backups are safe and reliable.  I ALWAYS refer them to a situation I ran into a while back where a small company I consulted for used an online backup only to find that the company they trusted with their data went bankrupt and closed.  The customer did not find out until they had a massive hardware failure and needed the data.  Oh yes the online backup servers were still running and accepting data BUT you could not reach them on the phone to get it.

The “Other Machine” Backup

It takes a skilled PC Pro or A thorough Network Admin to set up a recurring copy and paste through a batch file or windows task.  Any time you copy thousands of files from one place to another across a even a very stable network you chance data loss.

Case in point:

I knew a fellow once that used this backup method pretty successfully until one day he ran out of disk space on one of the two hard drives and lost all his data and crashed one of his PCs.

The “Software” Backup

IT / MIS Administrators will all most assuredly use a software package to process and monitor their mission critical backup jobs.  This is the De facto industry standard for backups.

Case in point:

I won’t mention any brand names, sufficed to say, there are many solutions out there that are tried and true and trusted.  I have RARELY ever seen one of these backups fail.

The bottom line when it comes to backups, and this cannot be stressed enough to folks is to  Follow up.  Monitor your backups and test them periodically to be sure they are complete and current.  Have fun!


About JayCooper

Puzzled WebWizard from Mount Juliet Tennessee. Married for 25+ years to a wonderful wife with three grown sons.

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