Several unfortunate events can lead to the loss of your data
- The loss or theft of one of your devices
- A hardware or software failure
- A fire
- A flood
Whether it's monetary or sentimental, it's essential to ensure that you have an effective backup solution for your data. There are several backup methods available to you, but which one should you choose?
It is very important to make the difference between a backup and a synchronization.
A backup is a one-way copy of your files. Whatever happens to the original files, the backed up files are not modified. Several methods are available to you:
- The external hard drive and the USB key, which are usually backed up by yourself.
- Backup online or on an internal server, where the backup is done automatically.
A synchronization consists in making the content of your devices identical in a bidirectional way. If you modify a file, it will be automatically modified on all your devices. On the other hand, if by accident a file is deleted on one of them, the action will be definitive and the file irrecoverable.
Here is a list of points to consider when choosing a backup solution.
|Incremental||An incremental backup solution allows you to recover any revision of your file.|
A non-incremental backup solution allows you to recover only the latest version of your file.
A non-incremental backup may be sufficient. However, you must understand that it is then impossible to go back. In some circumstances, recovering the latest version of the file is not enough. This is the case, for example, when your file has been corrupted. A non-incremental backup system will allow you to recover the latest version of the file, i.e. the corrupted version. With an incremental backup system, it will be possible to recover each version of your file. With a little research, it will then be possible to find an earlier version of your file that is not corrupted.
|Retention period||The retention period defines the number of weeks, months or years for which the backed up files are kept. After this period, the increments are purged. This means that it will be impossible to recover an increment.|
If the retention period is too long, you will need a lot of disk space. If the period is too short, your file may be forgotten.
In case disk space is not an issue for you, I recommend that you keep your backups indefinitely.
|Time to restore a file||Check how long it will take to restore a file.|
Ideally, the restoration should be fast and accessible.
If it takes too long to restore a file, as is the case with some services, the backup is useless. When you have lost a file, it is likely that you are in a hurry. If you have to wait more than an hour to recover it, it is useless.
|Backup frequency||Make sure that you can control the frequency of your backups.|
If the frequency is too low, you may not get the revision of the file you want to restore.
If the frequency is too high, you will need more disk space.
Ideally, we recommend a frequency of 24 hours.
Beware of portable hard drives and USB sticks. The backup operation is rarely automated. Moreover, if you are not assiduous in your manual backups, there is a risk of forgetting important information.
|Selective backup||In order to avoid taking up too much disk space unnecessarily, it is important to be able to make a selective backup. This allows you to keep the data that is really essential to you.|
|Sauvegarde "On-site" et "Off-site".||Be sure to back up your data in two separate locations. As the saying goes, "You can't put all your eggs in one basket".|
The "on-site" solution consists of an on-site backup, whether it is on an external hard drive or laptop, on your own servers or by Network Attached Storage (NAS). Your data is accessible at all times, but is at great risk if a catastrophic event occurs (theft, vandalism, fire, etc.).
The "off-site" solution consists of a backup on external servers, accessible via the Internet. Most online backup services are accessible just as quickly. However, special attention must be paid to the ease and speed of file recovery. As the "off-site" solution is done online, it is essential to have a reliable Internet connection.
|Security||With online backup solutions, it is important to ensure that your data is encrypted during transmission and recovery. Some providers also offer an encrypted data service directly on the storage device.|
In order to protect your data, access must be secure and protected by a password known only to you. See also the facility to recover a lost password.
Some synchronization services are installed on your devices, so your data is accessible to anyone who takes possession of it.
|Trust and legality||Since there are a multitude of services and providers, another interesting point applies; trust in them. How secure is your data? You might be surprised to find that many well-known vendors use subcontractors for certain features of their product, allowing them to share your data. Do you know all these subcontractors? Do you trust them too?|
Another constant is where the storage units are located. The servers used to store your data can be located anywhere in the world and are subject to the laws of the country where they are located. So, if your provider is in Canada and the servers used for storage are in Europe, the laws of Europe apply to the monitoring and maintenance of your data.
|Redundancy||Redundancy consists of a copy of your data on a second storage unit. What happens to your data in case of a failure or breakdown on the mother server? It is important to ask your supplier if he makes a double backup of your data in case of problem.|
Although synchronization is affordable and accessible to everyone, it is important to have an external backup, called off-site. This allows you to recover all your data, even those you have deleted. There is a multitude of online backup services, you just need to be aware of their features in order to make an informed choice and adapt to your needs. We have an online backup service that meets most of the points listed above.
You can consult the information at https://minarca.org