Tips & Tricks: Data Backup

While maybe not the most exciting part of any job, data backup is a vital aspect of many professions. Done right, backing up your data can be a painless and hands-off process that provides you with peace of mind. There are many options and services available, and the best method of backup varies based on the type and size of data you need to store.

The data backup service that I use for my work and photography files is Amazon Web Services. As stated on their website, “Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) allows you to store and retrieve any amount of data at any time, from anywhere on the web.” This integrated flexibility allows me to focus on running my business, instead of spending time and energy keeping track of online storage size and usage. The fees for Amazon S3 are based on the space and bandwidth that you use each month; there are discounts for larger amounts of storage to keep the costs from getting out of hand.

There are other data storage solutions, such as Carbonite Online Backup, that operate on a flat-fee. This is helpful for budgeting the costs of your online storage, and the service is offered not by the amount of data but instead by the number of computers being backed up. They offer Home and Business solutions as well as a free trial.

Of course there are other options available as well, such as purchasing a web hosting account and using FTP to upload your data. A USB drive or DVDs may be large enough for your needs, or perhaps you need an external hard drive. I urge caution with physical storage devices kept in your home or office, though, as a fire or flood would wipe out both your primary and backup data.

Once you have the storage space, its time to actually copy your data to the backup location regularly. If you are going to backup your files manually you may want to set aside a certain time every week (I recommend a reoccurring alarm or calendar reminder for this method). A more hands-off approach are programs like Cobain Backup, which is a free program that will backup your data automatically. The program allows you to backup data to a specified location with ease, both manually or at scheduled intervals.

This article by Small Biz Trends offers more tips for limiting company downtime and recognizing which of your data is crucial to your everyday work. By having a plan for the immediate retrieval of your most important data, you will minimize the damage caused by a computer crash and save yourself a lot of stress. Whether you choose one form of backup or a few that fit your needs, it is most important that you have a plan in place for dealing with a computer or server crash.

Have questions about setting up your data backup? Let me know via email at

Fine Print: Opinions shared in this article are based on my own experience and not solicited from any companies mentioned above.


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