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Good Practices

2 Backup, Backup, Backup

Keeping duplicate copies of your most important files saved in a remote location keeps it safe in case anything goes wrong with your computer such as hardware failure, file system crash, virus infection, physical computer damage or theft.

Your backup serves as your last defense against data loss. It allows you to restore original data and continue with your regular operation. Below are some recommended good practices for data backup.

  • Backup regularly – preferably following a pre-defined schedule and a good backup strategy.

    A good backup strategy and a regular backup schedule guarantee that all your data are copied and stored in a safe environment. You can utilize any external physical (USB Flash Disk or Hard Disk) media in creating a backup of your important information.

    In addition, utilizing the right backup method, (i.e. Normal/Full, Incremental, Differential or Mirror) will maximize the process of creating data backup and retrieving data from these backups whenever required.
  • Identify and decide what you need to backup

    Identify and classify your data into different level of importance in order to determine the data that needs to be back-up/archived. Backup of critical data shall be performed more frequently, e.g. daily or whenever the data is modified.
    • To limit backup requirements, make a checklist of data files/folders that need to be backed up (family photos, school files, personal files, etc.)
    • If possible, backup everything
    • Backup your systems for easy restoration in case of system crash or failure
  • Restore - always test your backups to ensure that data was successfully copied. Monitor and keep an eye on the backup process. In some cases, there are files locked by the computer that cannot be copied at the time of backup.

    In addition, validate and test your data recovery process to attest that you can actually recover data from your backup, in particular,
    • when you upgrade the operating system and software on your computer
    • Formats of any backed-up documents are still supported by the new system
    • Some types of old media may not be supported by your new system
  • Backup all your devices

    It’s becoming vital to backup not only PCs but smartphones and tablets too. Creating a backup for all your devices will allow you to recover data whenever data is lost in one or more of your devices.

    Having a centralized backup for all your devices will allow an easy process of retrieving lost data.
  • Take your backup off-site

    It is very important to consider the physical security of the backup media. It is a good practice to keep your sensitive and critical data backups away from your normal data backup in a separate location. Backups should be located in a remote and secured location protected against some of the worst-case scenarios such as fires, floods, or earthquakes which would destroy any backups in the immediate vicinity. You don’t need a bank or vault to share your personal data backup offsite. If your backup is encrypted, you can store it in a safe location at your parent’s or sibling’s house, or at the house of a close and trusted friend.