Phil for Humanity Phil for Humanity
A Guide for the Survival of Humankind and Helping the World, Society, and Yourself.

The Merits of Two Backups

This article is not to convince you to periodically backup your computer, but rather to periodically backup your computer twice.

Iíve been a computer administrator long enough to know that backups must be both easily and quickly available and also securely located. Unfortunately, these two requirements are the opposite of each other. If a backup is securely located, then it is typically not available quickly enough if there is a problem with the primary system.

However with two backups, you will have one backup that is local that you can immediately retrieve data from. The second backup should be offsite in another building, just in case something happens to the building where your computer and first backup is located. Additionally, if one backup is lost or corrupted, then you still have a backup of the backup. This may sound a bit paranoid, but Iíve worked in business environments where it helps having backup plans for your backup plans.

If the data on your hard drive is important to you or your business, then you should be already backing up your data. The additional costs for a second backup should be affordable, especially with backup media becoming larger and cheaper every few months.

My second advice is how often to backup your computer. I personally back up my home computer at least once a year. I use my birthday as a reminder. If the computer is giving me any type of trouble, then I backup once a month. At work depending on the criticality of the data, I recommend backing up your data either every day or every week. You decide. Iíve seen too many data centers that backed up their data too infrequently; and as a result, these administrators of these data centers were unable to retrieve critical data that was created only a week ago. In my experience, the latest data is also the most critical data.

In conclusion, I think making two backups is worth the time and cost. One backup should be local, and the other backup should be secure offsite. And scheduling frequent and periodic backups is also extremely important.

All right, that is enough of a lecture for today.

by Phil for Humanity
on 03/28/2008

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