Monday, April 18, 2011

Small Business Tip ..... How To Prevent Data Loss

To prevent data loss, there are several steps that must be taken to ensure valuable data is not loss in the event of hardware failure or other unfortunate events. Data backup is no longer an option, but a necessity. Here’s what to do:

* ALWAYS have external media in place to backup data to.

This includes external USB hard drives, memory cards, DVDs, CDs etc. By utilizing a second form of backup in addition to your hard drive, you are a step closer to a complete backup program. We recommend an external USB hard drive, that is at LEAST 500GB or larger, if you download large files and or collect music, pictures, and other large files – the more space the better. This drive should only be turned on to copy/clone current data, and should be stored in a safe place away from the computer, in the event of fire, flood, etc.

* Remember that only certain files can be backed up.

Pictures, music, documents, videos etc. Software can not be backed up, but settings and configuration files etc can be backed up and imported after re-installing a program; allowing a user to resume the same settings, information etc. If you are interested in backing up an actual program so that it can be restored later, you will only have the option of saving the.exe file, and reinstalling the program again in the event of data loss or re-installation of your operating system.

*It is HIGHLY recommended to create separate “partitions” for your hard drive, when you are installing an operating system such as Windows.

Creating a primary partition (C:) for Windows data, a second partition (D:) for YOUR data, and so on.

By using this configuration, you are able to keep your data partition intact in the event of the C: becoming unbootable, by reinstalling Windows on the C: partition and accessing your data. The data accessed in this method can either be kept on the drive, or copied and pasted elsewhere.

* When using an email client such as Outlook, keep your files on the server.

In Microsoft Outlook and other email client programs, you have the option to keep your emails on the actual server, instead of downloading them to your client only.

In other words, if you don’t choose “keep copy of file(s) on server”, the email that is downloaded to your client software will most likely NOT remain on the server. When it is time to access your email through your browser, the emails that were downloaded onto your computer will no longer be visible through the browser. They will be “gone.”

How does this relate to backup? Well…we all have important email that we do not wish to lose, or can’t lose. If we retain the email on our provider’s server, there will always be a copy when we need it, in the event the email on our computer is lost.

* Pickup a copy of a program called Acronis True Image.

Highly recommended! This program will allow you to use a feature called “Cloning.” Cloning is performed when the software takes an exact “copy” of your hard drive which contains your operating system. In the event your hard drive fails or cannot be accessed due to virus or other issues, you can use the “cloned” drive and resume your computing as if nothing ever happened!

Acronis has many other features, and there are several types of software that can perform many of the same tasks, but we have more experience with Acronis for data backup and to prevent data loss. We in no way are endorsing this company as we receive no compensation for our recommendation. Good software though!

* Use more than one backup medium.

In addition to having an external drive(s), CDs, DVDs, cloning your drive etc; it is highly advisable to use a third media type to backup your data to. To better understand; your hard drive contains your operating system which allows you to boot into Windows for example.

The second media type (preferably external hard drive), allows you to copy your critical data to have a backup copy used to store in a safe place away from your computer.

This THIRD backup media will be used to backup the data from the 1st and/or 2nd drive as a safety precaution in case the 1st and 2nd media fail unexpectedly.