Another Reason To Make Backups

Backups, backups, backups; the most necessary of preventative measures that most of us don't bother with. At it's heart, a backup is just a redundant copy of data - you don't even need fancy backup software, just make a quick copy of whatever it is from time to time. Backup software can be helpful in automating the backups, lest you forget.

Preferably, the backup is also kept physically separate from the source - if you have a laptop, backup your data to an external hard drive or a DVD (not on the laptop itself). Computer hardware of all kinds will fail, it's just a matter of when, and how badly it fails; please trust me on this. 

As a latest example of how even a simple thing can fail, my 8GB USB stick with all my music and audiobooks just ... stopped. Fine one day, dead as a dodo the next. USB sticks have no moving parts, and usually will last for years.

This is a major source of entertainment in my car, so it's a pain to lose it - but because I have copies on my laptop, I just need to replace the USB stick itself for about ten bucks and copy all that stuff back to it. Think how annoying that would be otherwise - backups, backups, backups.

1 comment :

John D Carmack said...

That also shows why "backup, backup, backup" (did you borrow my phrase? Just kidding!) means exactly what it says. There should ideally be 3 backups, usually defined as: grandfather, father and son. However, since there are so many more options these days, there are ways to keep important documents backed up automatically, and then items that change less frequently can be dealt with separately.

A lot is made of "cloud backup" or "cloud storage", but I doubt too many would want to backup their entire system over the Internet (it would literally take days for most people). However, important work documents, resumes, financial data, etc., really needs some sort of off-site storage.

Still, as the recent Dropbox outage shows, even cloud storage is not invincible. There must always be (*ahem*) backup strategies for your backups. ;)