We all know we should backup our data, but we are all lax about it and besides, the hardware is so reliable now. BUT, when failures happen (like when you accidentally deleted your files, or hardware fails), we all know that it’s our fault for not having the data backed-up. The problem is that it needs to be automatic so we don’t have to think about it.
So we should backup, but how? Floppy, tape, CD/DVD, USB memory stick, external hard drive, other networked computers / servers, cloud storage and cloud backup are all solutions. The answer varies and depends on how valuable and how large your data set is.
- Floppy: Do you even have a floppy disk drive any more?
- Tape: The old way. Kind of slow and expensive. Need the same tape backup to restore.
- CD/DVD: Writable optical disks are/were a great way for storing data, but on its way out. They are DO NOT last forever. The data can degrade after 10 years.
- USB memory stick: Great for quick backups and transporting files. It sure beats the old floppies. I have seen these as large as 128GB, but 1-32GB should do fine.
- External hard drive: USB or ESATA. These are great and quite large (terabytes). These are usually spinning disks (spinners) and can fail just like your main computer hard drive.
- Networked computers/servers: Nowadays, storage is cheap. Our computers have so much more storage than we need. Just put copies of your data on other drives.
- Cloud drives & Cloud Backup: The new kid on the block, usually subscription based or limited size and requires an internet connection. You are outsourcing your backup to another company instead of owning more hardware.
So your solution really depends on how lazy you are and how much remote access you need to your data. If you are highly disciplined, USB memory sticks, external or networked drives might work for you. If you aren’t highly disciplined, you need access to your data, or your data is just mission critical, you really should consider cloud backup.