Everywhere you go there’s talk about the cloud…and for good reason. The hype has even drawn in the Department of Defense. But for those who still unsure of the security and reliability know that the cloud is not the only way to backup data. Granted, in the event of another Sandy, and with proper internet, it might be the best way to retrieve data.

But it’s not the only way.

So in this post I wanted to outline all the options available to the small business owner who’s not ready for the cloud.


But before we get “there” let’s back up a little :)

There are three basic types of backup:

  1. Full
  2. Differential
  3. Incremental

a) Full backups allow you to make a copy of all the data files on your computer in one fell swoop. They’re for the average home computer user and should be performed weekly.

Sometimes a full backup is done after a major change, such as an operating system upgrade or software install. The long intervals between mean that if something goes wrong, a lot of data is going to be lost.

Advantages of Full Back up

  • All files from the selected drives and folders are backed up to one backup set.
  • In the event you need to restore files, they are easily restored from the single backup set.

Disadvantages of Full Backup:

  • A full backup is more time consuming than other backup options.
  • Full backups require more disk, tape, or network drive space.

The other two: differential and incremental, are typically done several times a week (if not daily) for maximum protection against data-loss.

b) Differential backups back up only the files that changed since the last full back.

Advantages of Differential Backup:

  • Differential backups require even less disk, tape, or network drive space than incremental backups.
  • Backup time is faster than full or incremental backups.

Disadvantages of Differential Backup:

  • Restoring all your files may take considerably longer since you may have to restore both the last differential and full backup.
  • Restoring an individual file may take longer since you have to locate the file on either the differential or full backup.

c) Incremental backups also back up only the changed data, but they only back up the data that has changed since the last backup — be it a full or incremental backup.

Advantages of Incremental Backup:

  • Backup time is faster than full backups.
  • Incremental backups require less disk, tape, or network drive space.
  • You can keep several versions of the same files on different backup sets.

Disadvantages of Incremental Backup:

  • In order to restore all the files, you must have all of the incremental backups available.
  • It may take longer to restore a specific file since you must search more than one backup set to find the latest version of a file.

Now you can get to impress your IT guy or company with your new found knowledge!

Options to Backup Data

There are endless options for backing up data, but it’s a good idea to build in some redundancy (or duplicates) and shoot for at least two methods that will divide and conquer your data backup needs. Here are some options:

1. External Hard Drives or Disks

Disks have long been used as a go-to backup device, but they are also notorious for failing to capture all your data. Plus, it’s a manual process. A better option would be to back up to an external storage device. These devices also offer the convenience of scheduling automatic backups for those of us who’d otherwise forget.

2. Server Backup

If you use a server in your business to run email, databases or business applications, backing it up is a must. You can do this using backup software that saves data to disks or tape.

3. Keep the Originals Safe and Distribute Duplicates

Make sure you keep the originals, and any copies you’ve made and don’t need access to safe somewhere. You could put them in a safe deposit box with your bank or credit union if you choose, or you can keep them in your own personal safe (although if something happens to your home, they may be lost.) Even if you don’t use some service to send your data to friends or family, that you make sure you get duplicates of your data out to people you can trust.

4. Don’t Forget to NAS

If you have multiple computers on your network, you’re a candidate for a network-attached storage (NAS) device. Some NAS servers simply act as a shared volume for backing up and sharing files across your network, while others can do a lot more:

  • Such as sharing a printer among your networked PCs
  • Acting as a media streamer
  • Or even a surveillance system by supporting IP cameras.

In conclusion

At the end of the day safety lies in this word: redundancy. Whether it be cloud based, server based, or NAS based find the strategy that works best for you. You have all the options, now choose the best one.

What are your thoughts?

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