If you ask everyday users and even some small and medium-sized businesses how they deal with the issue of backups, they will often tell you something astounding: “Today’s hardware is so dependable, and so far we’ve never had anything happen. We burn our data on a DVD every few months. That should be enough.”
True – until the first hard disk crash. Or until the sticky contents of a spilled glass of soda penetrate the innards of your laptop. Or a system crash destroys any data that passes through the device.
Better safe than sorry
To err on the side of caution, you should save your data at regular intervals, in various locations and on different media such as an external hard drive – and just as often on another type of removable media. Essentially, there should always be at least two identical copies of all data – ideally in the form of a full backup!
However, people have different ideas of what constitutes a backup, which is why we have provided a brief glossary below to get you started:
Synchronize: The data at the source (e.g. PC) and target (backup drive) are updated to the same state. For mobile phones/PCs (and often in the case of laptops/PCs), the data is often synchronized in both directions. A backup, in contrast, is one-way: only the target drive is updated to the state of the source.
A full backup is a backup of all data. This involves saving all data, i.e. not only the data that has changed since the last backup. The disadvantage is, of course, that very large volumes of data have to be backed up.
Incremental backup: Only the data that has been changed since the last incremental or full backup is backed up. A very sleek method indeed! The problem, however, is that a “restoration” requires all of the other backups that have been saved since the last full backup.
A differential backup is a sort of in-between solution: All data that has been changed since the last full backup is backed up anew. Performing a recovery requires only the last full and the last differential backup. The amount of data involved in this method lies somewhere in the middle of the two previous backup methods.
Archives are used to store versions of past backups. This method is useful when larger data volumes have been deleted accidentally and there needs to be a way to access older files.
Images are copies of all of the data stored on the storage medium (hard disk or hard disk partition). In contrast, a backup only involves selected files.
Backing up with Hostpoint
Users seeking a truly dependable way to backup their web data, e-mails and databases have several options. You can manage the backup of your data on our servers using what are referred to as Cronjobs, which are regular tasks carried out automatically. Using Cronjobs does require a bit of knowledge, however. To learn more about this automation, refer to the following article.
Our support team would be happy to assist you. They can also explain what happens if you want to restore your backup via FTP. And of course we back up your data on our end – just in case something happens. The restoration of your data is an additional service we offer for a fee. This is because it requires additional work and expenses on our part, which we have to pass on to our customers.
Perform your own backup. There are practical backup tools that automatically backup your data to an external hard disk. These include rsync, robocopy, Genie Timeline and acronis (which also works for cloud-based backups. For Apple users, we recommend using the pre-installed program TimeMachine.
And what about backing up data to Google, Apple, Dropbox or other similar cloud storage services? Go right ahead – if you want to continue giving the US intelligence agencies something interesting to read about you, your work and your friends. After all, even encryption cannot necessary protect you from unwelcome snoops as we recently found out.
RAID as a backup. Please don’t!
A RAID drive, which is an inexpensive redundant hard disk that always mirrors the “main hard disk” and therefore always has an identical version of your system and work data is certainly a great thing to have in the event of a hard disk crash. Your data is always available in its entirety.
So that’s similar to a full backup? Unfortunately not. If the original file becomes damaged, it will also be saved in its damaged form to the RAID disk. And if you have accidentally deleted an important folder on your disk, the RAID disk obediently deletes this same folder right away. And then it’s gone for good. Tough luck! If you had only performed a real backup…