Making Regular Backups
When you modify or remove important data on your computer, make sure that the data is backup. A backup is the last defense against data loss, providing a way to restore the original data. A good backup strategy is essential for data security.
Reasons for having Data Backup - To Restore Lost Data
Data on a hard disk can be lost for a variety of reasons, such as:
operating system failure, e.g., file system crash;
files or volumes modified or deleted accidentally by yourself;
files or volumes modified or deleted intentionally by intruder;
files or volumes modified or deleted by malware.
Tips for Making a Backup
Identify what data needs to be archived. You should always classify your data into different level of importance. Backup of critical data shall be performed more frequently, e.g. daily or whenever the data is modified.
Encrypt sensitive information. If your data contains sensitive information, you should encrypt the data. Alternatively, there are a number of commercial software tools that can enforce password protection for a given set of data to guard against unauthorised reading or editing.
Keep the backup copies disconnected from the computer.
Avoid storing data in dispersed locations in the system. It will be much easier to perform backup on a set of data if the components of the set are stored in the same proximity, e.g., all under the "My Documents" folder or on a separate "d:" drive.
Choose appropriate backup media. Common media for backup include:
Use Network backup solution such as trusted cloud storage, or Network Attached Storage with Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks (RAID) which is configured in RAID1, 5, 6 or 10 such that data will not be lost even if there is error in one of the physical disk drives. The disk could be SSD (Solid State Disk) or magnetic diskettes depends on the budget, speed of writing and capacity required
Removable (external) hard disk - Depending on the hard drive model, a backup volume like this can run to several hundred GB, or even multi-terabyte (1000 GB). These are fast, simple and convenient. However, hard drives are mechanical devices and may be prone to physical damage, if they are not sufficiently shock-proof. SSD is recommended which is more shock-proof and faster than mechanical devices.
Tape - backup tape (usually DAT or LTO) is only used for advanced users or organisational or network backup. Managing a tape drive backup system can be complicated and requires an IT specialist.
Hardcopy print out - In some cases, the only option may be to print out copies of your data for backup purpose.
Monitor the backup process. Always keep an eye on the backup process. There are often some files locked by the computer that cannot be copied at the time of backup. In addition, before you perform a backup, make sure your computer is clean - ensure you have the latest anti-malware software installed.
Protect your backups. Depending on the backup media you select, consider where you store your backups once complete. For example:
The network attached storage could be located in an off-site location, a separated location from production, such as a trusted cloud environment with sufficient SLA in availability or a Disaster Recovery Centre.
Flash drives and removable hard disk should be kept in a dry and electrostatic free storage location.
Consult the manufacturer on the best way to store the media. Also consider the physical security of the media. You do not want to have your data stolen, so it is a good practice to keep your sensitive and critical data backups away from your normal data backup in a separate location.
Keep an inventory and Label your backups. It is a good practice to label your backup by writing down the backup date, and a brief description of the contents. An index summary for previous backup is also useful for retrieval afterward.
Verify and check your data recovery process. It is a good idea to check and verify that you can actually recover data from your backup regularly, in particular,
when you upgrade the operating system and software on your computer - for instance, check if your CD drive is compatible with the new system.
Check that the formats of any backed-up documents are still supported by the new system.
Certain types of old media may not be supported by your new system, e.g. fewer and fewer new PCs come with floppy drives now, so you may not be able to retrieve data from a floppy disk backup set.
Take extra care when Disposing of your backup media. Use degausser or physical mean to destroy any disposable backup media. All items of equipment containing storage media shall be verified to ensure that any sensitive data and licenced software has been removed or securely overwritten prior to disposal or re-use.
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