Everyone with a computer stores data. It might be your family photos, your accounts, sensitive data, important documents, maybe even the opening chapter of the novel you have been “writing ” for the last 10 years. Now, ask yourself what would happen if, through human errors or natural disasters, you had a system crash and all those important files were lost?
It’s important that you always backup data on a computer in the event of disasters such as system crashes, hard drive failures, viruses or theft occurring. Data backups not only provide you with a secure copy of your important information, but can save you money, time and stress in the long run.
Sometimes it is possible, with specialist programs, to retrieve some of that data but it is a complicated and often expensive operation.
Common causes of computer data loss
Let’s look at the most common causes of data loss and ask yourself if any of these could happen to you.
Hard drive failure
There is a saying among computer engineers that there are two types of hard drive – those that have failed and those that are going to fail eventually!
The older your hard drive, the more likely it is to fail. A hard drive is a spinning disc with moving parts. Anything with moving parts can break, and if it fails then your data is very much at risk.
Hard drives are vulnerable to power surges or power outages, overheating if the cooling fan stops working, file corruption and even good old “human error”. This is normally when someone tampers with the file system!
So beware of the office “expert” and make sure you always have a backup version. Which brings us on to…
Accidental deletions (aka”user error”!)
Creating, updating, saving and deleting files is just part of our everyday business life. It’s no wonder that sometimes, we delete files or overwrite files by accident. Because we are all human we all make mistakes, and it is more than possible to delete important files – even files that are vital to the working of the computer system.
Viruses and malware
If you have internet access (and who doesn’t nowadays?) computer viruses are a very real threat. They can destroy, steal or encrypt your data. In some cases viruses can completely corrupt the information on your computer or infiltrate your entire network.
An even more serious threat is crypto-ransomeware that encrypts your data so you can’t get at it and then demands a payment to give it back to you.
Think it couldn’t happen to you? It happened to the NHS and plenty of other big companies – so no one is immune.
Whilst we can advise you on the best way to protect yourself against these attacks, you can negate the threat and get peace of mind by backing up your digital data so that you can restore it.
At Lee Harvey, we offer an anti-virus, malware and spyware removal service if you ever encounter any issues. We also ensure that you are running the most up to date and effective anti-virus program to protect and prevent against further issues.
Power surges and outages
No matter how good your anti-virus software, or how tight your control over who can alter files etc, there is no protection against the effects of a power surge caused by a nearby lightning strike.
Even a surge protector won’t protect you against the size of surge in that event. If your computer is in the middle of writing to the hard drive at the point of a strike it can create a damaged sector on the disk with the resulting loss of data.
Power outages can have much the same effect.
Coffee, tea, water, Coca Cola. All of these do not mix well with your computer. Sugary drinks are the worst for long term damage but any liquid has the capability of shorting out and permanently destroying your computer. With the computer gone, your data may well be gone too.
What would happen if data is not backed up?
As we’ve seen above, the loss of important data (indeed any data), can have a catastrophic impact on your business. The loss of sensitive data or original data, customer records etc could leave your business unable to function. But if your data is backed up all is not lost. You can restore everything from your backup and be up and running again in no time at all.
At Lee Harvey Computing we offer a hard drive data recovery and repair service in Cornwall, and can resolve the problem so that it is unlikely to happen again.
Why do you need to backup your files in your computer?
All important files in your computer should have a backup file because, as we have seen above, the consequences of not having copies of your files could be disastrous – as too many businesses have found to their cost.
When should you backup data?
This is one of those “how long is a piece of string” questions. Everyone needs to make regular backups but the definition of “regular” will vary from user to user.
If you are a home user and connect to the internet a few times a week on your laptop, it is probably best once you have done an initial backup of your complete system, to backup new files once a week.
Important data should be backed up at least once a week, but preferably once every twenty-four hours.
For business users, the implications of data loss are much more serious so data backup should be done at least every 24 hours.
Data security is as important as data recovery, and there may be a case in some businesses for backing up every new file and every alteration to an existing file – a customer order record for example – as it happens.
If you would like more information or advice on data security and recovery contact Lee Harvey Computing today.
How do you perform a data backup?
The idea of a backup is to keep a copy of your files somewhere other than your main system and there are many ways to do this.
The simplest is just to “Save” files to an external hard drive or USB stick, either at the end of each day or as you create each file. Most external hard drives come with software that allow you to do this automatically. Many computer programs have the option to save automatically every 5 minutes or on closing a file.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of data backup?
There are many advantages and very few disadvantages to data backup. Below we will explore both!
Advantages of data backup
First, and possibly the main reason for data backup, is that you have peace of mind knowing that if the worst should happen – complete data loss on your main computer due to any of the reasons we detailed above – all is not lost. You can quickly restore your system from your backup.
Secondly, should you have a malware attack, you can get access to and reload your data without paying the ransom. This takes a little longer but, once again, at Lee Harvey Computing, we can guide you through the process.
Disadvantages of data backup
Preventing data loss takes a little extra time. It may add a few minutes to your day – although it is quite possible to set up an automatic system that does everything without you having to think about it. But, the importance of data protection is such that a small initial investment in time will pay enormous dividends.
There is a cost involved, but the cost of backup services has plummeted over the last few years. Loss of data can cost a business thousands of pounds. Regular backups can save you those thousands for comparatively little outlay.
Is performing a data backup complicated?
In a word – no – preforming a data backup is not complicated. Most of the process can be automated so, once set up, you don’t have to do anything. Ask Lee Harvey Computing to install and set up a system that will run with next to no effort on your part.
How easily can I get at my backup data?
You can very easily get at your backup data. If your backup data storage is properly set up, then you can access your backup data as easily as your original data.
What devices can be used to backup data?
The simplest devices for preventing data loss and storing backup files are external hard drives. Another device is removable media – giving the advantage of portability – and the most common is the USB stick. This mobile device enables you to take your backed up data with you – but be aware that this has data protection implications.
These are two cheapest and easiest storage solutions but, as we shall see, not the complete answer…
Where should backups be stored?
Let’s imagine you have installed an external hard drive where your backup data is safely stored. Your computers and hard drive are in one location – your office. Then, late one night, you receive a phone call. There is a fire at the office! Now both your original files and the backup is destroyed. If only you had a copy at a separate location.
This is why one of the most popular storage solutions for data backup and recovery is cloud backup. Cloud storage means your backups are held in the “Cloud” – a secure server. By using secure cloud based storage, your file is held in a remote location.
The importance of having your backups held in the cloud cannot be overstated. One event could cause catastrophic data loss and subsequent recovery from the cloud could secure the future of your business. To make backups to a cloud service to protect your data, you will, of course, need to connect to the internet.
Does Windows 10 automatically backup files?
If you want Windows 10 to automatically back up your files, you will have to tell the software to do it. In this instance, it is not particularly difficult but it needs a little care. In the event that you don’t have the confidence to do this, you can count on the support and service of Lee Harvey Computing.
However, many users find this software a bit of a blunt tool and there are many specialised apps available that enable you to make backups easily and automatically and perform data recovery. Once again, Lee Harvey Computing can advise you.
All users of computers and their accompanying software need to protect their data by making regular backups. Luckily it is possible to create a system to automatically create backups from every device on the system so these backups can be used in the recovery of data should the need arise.
Lee Harvey Computing can advise on the best way to protect your data, whether you have purchased a new device, want advice on getting your data stored in the cloud, or need help with data recovery. We are always available at the end of the telephone line to offer support and advice for all your computer related problems.