For many people, personal and corporate data is vital. At home, you’d feel devastated if you lost your cherished family photos and prized music collection. At work, critical data loss can often prove to be catastrophic for companies.
To help combat such problems, most people realize that a good computer backup system is a must. When you back up any files, it is important that you can restore them fast and with no issue when you need to do so. There’s no point having a backup system in place if it doesn’t work well.
As you are reading this blog post, I am going to assume that you’re worried about losing any crucial data from your home or work computers. But don’t worry; you can still set up an efficient data backup system. Want to know how? Keep reading to check out these top backup options for computer data in 2015!
External hard drive
Do you only have to worry about one computer system? If so, and you use a desktop or laptop, one cost-effective way to back up your data is to use an external hard drive.
They don’t cost much money to buy and, to all intents and purposes, are “plug and play” devices. You connect them to your computer system via USB cable, and they show up as an external drive in Explorer (Windows) and Finder (Mac).
The only caveat with external hard drives is that you need to use some backup software to make a copy of your important files. Most people prefer to use the operating system’s own backup software as it’s free. For Windows, there is a “Backup” app. While for Mac users, Time Machine is the way forward.
External hard drives are portable. That means you can carry them around with you and store them anywhere you want. For those that want drives with low footprints, you can buy 2.5-inch devices. One benefit of these smaller drives is that you don’t need an external power supply to use them.
USB flash drive
Walk around any office or home that uses computers, and you will find at least one USB flash drive on a desk somewhere! As the name suggests, these devices use flash memory rather than mechanical hard disks.
They are also quite small, with some folks opting to attach them to their key rings! It’s no secret that they are so small and lightweight. They are sometimes preferred over external hard drives. The price of flash memory has come down in recent years. So it’s possible to buy large capacity flash drives without paying a fortune for them.
You can buy USB flash drives up to 128 GB in capacity. If you need more space, you can always buy more drives. Otherwise, an external hard drive might prove to be a better option for you.
The only downside to USB flash drives is that it’s easy to lose them. If you’re the sort of person that loses things like pens, notepads and even money on a regular basis, a flash drive might not be a good idea!
The beauty about backup programs is that you can use them to store data on a variety of formats. DVD discs are a cheap and popular way to backup data. If you use rewritable DVD discs, you won’t need to keep buying DVDs to backup your data with.
With disc-based backups, you have the option of backing up data as a straight copy and paste process. Or you can save your data to an ISO image file which you then “burn” onto the disc.
Sometimes you need to store more than 4.7 GB of data on a disc. If you have this problem, DVD disc backups aren’t for you. Instead, you should consider Blu-ray disc backups! The beauty of Blu-ray discs is that you can store 25 GB on a conventional single-layer disc.
You also have the option of storing up to 50 GB of data on a dual-layer disc and 100+ GB on a BD-XL. Before you go out and set up a Blu-ray backup system, there are a few things you need to be aware of.
Blu-ray discs and drives are more expensive than DVD discs and drives. You also need to buy specific software to burn onto Blu-ray discs. For instance, you can use this software to burn Blu-rays.
And if you want to read any data on a Blu-ray disc, the computer you use must have a Blu-ray drive attached to it. Still, despite those caveats it’s a versatile way of backing up large data!
NAS (Network-Attached Storage)
Do you have more two or more systems to back up at home or work? If so, life would be easier if you had a device that you could use on your network. The good news is that there is a device right up your street: a NAS “box”!
In layman’s terms, a NAS box isn’t much different in operation to an external hard drive. Instead of plugging into a USB port on your computer, a NAS box connects to your computer network via Ethernet cable.
NAS devices at the cheaper end of the market only have one built-in hard drive. But if you’re prepared to spend more money, you can get one that allows you to install multiple hard drives.
With a multi-drive NAS box, you can set up something called a RAID array. In a nutshell, RAID allows you to spread any data across multiple drives. There are plenty of configurations available. The simplest one enables you to mirror a primary drive. You can also “stripe” data across multiple hard disks.
It might sound like complicated stuff. But NAS drives have setup software you can access via a web browser that makes it easy to manage. Are you planning to get a multi-drive NAS device? If so, I recommend learning more about RAID configurations so that you can find a suitable one for your setup.