Make Regular Backups
A good backup strategy is essential for data
security. A backup is the last defense against
data loss, providing a way to restore original
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
files or volumes modified or deleted accidentally
files or volumes modified or deleted intentionally
files or volumes modified or deleted by virus
or malicious codes.
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
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.
Avoid storing data in dispersed locations.
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:-
USB flash drives - 1GB to 8 GB flash
drives are now very common. They are fast
for data copying, convenient to carry
and easy to operate. However, they are
only good for temporary or short-term
storage due to the volatility of stored
data. It is easy to lose flash drives,
as they are small and slim. Use USB flash
drives with care.
CD-R or DVD-R - The media is inexpensive,
and data volumes go up to 4GB for a single
side DVD-R. The speed when writing data
to a DVD-R or CD-R is slow and relatively
more complicated, and you will need a
CD-R or DVD-R writable drive with bundled
software to perform data backup.
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.
Tape - backup tape (usually DAT) is only
really 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-virus
Protect your backups. Depending on the backup
media you select, consider where you store
your backups once complete. For example:
DVD-Rs and CD-Rs should be stored in
a cool place, away from direct sunlight,
moisture and chemicals.
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 or destroyed by fire,
so it is good practice to keep your sensitive
and critical data backups away from your normal
data backup in a separate location.
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 later retrieval.
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,
when you upgrade the operating system
and software on your computer - for instance,
check if your CDR drive is compatible
with the new system.
Check that the formats of any backed-up
documents are still supported by the new
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.
of your backup media.
to learn more about Backup & Recovery.