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Analysis / Security

Why You Must Adequately Back Up Your Data

Data Backup

Imagine that soul-destroying feeling of losing a document you’ve been working on all morning – hours down the drain! Now multiply that feeling by 876581. That’s approximately how many hours there are in 100 years. Now imagine what it would be like to lose the entire 21st century. The phrase “soul destroying” seems somewhat tepid now, right?

Data storage in the modern world is pretty terrible. A decade ago we were concerned that CDs and DVDs only had a lifespan of around forty years (although many dispute this); then we started using flash drives, which reduced that to around ten years; now we store our entire lives on our mobile devices, which we replace every 18 months. Humanity is making rapid tech advancements, but storage seems to be moving in the opposite direction. We are now on the cuff of a digital dark age and the threat of future generations having little to no record of our generation is very real.

But it’s not just out history that poor data preservation could harm. Modern businesses are also in danger.

Data Preservation Is Not Optional

“Not adequately backing up your data is like gambling on your business every single day. When backing up can be done in such a cost-effective way, it’s a roll of the dice that is simple not worth taking.” – Vectorcloud – IT Support Glasgow.

Even the most technologically advanced systems out there cannot 100% guarantee complete data recovery in the event of unexpected data loss. When files are deleted on a computer the information itself isn’t technically removed, but rather, freed up to be overwritten. Therefore, in the event of a major corruption the passing of time will reduce the chance of recovery as the risk of overwriting the lost data increases. Digital preservation isn’t, therefore, a luxury that you can bypass just because you have decent recovery software. It’s something that you should incorporate into your annual routine.

Cloud Storage Systems Are The Safest

Cloud storage systems may sound dangerous. However, there’s no safer place for your data. More often than not, when data is compromised, it’s almost always due to poor end-user control, such as passwords that can be hacked, a technical loophole or a problem with physical security, like theft of computers or hard drives. Cloud computing boasts the most effective forms of encryption in the world, making it the safest form of storage for digital data.

But ensuring everything is backed up on both the Cloud and physical sources is merely the first step. You must also take measures to ensure the material remains usable. This could involve updating file formats before they become redundant. This is a process known as digital archaeology, and it’s something many leading tech firms treat very seriously. For example, Microsoft teamed up with the UK National Archives in 2007 to convert 580TB of data on ageing file formats to newer formats – a process that will have to be revisited again in the future.

Unfortunately many businesses still don’t regard data storage as a necessity, and this could have grave consequences in the future. If you haven’t given it serious consideration in the past, now is the time to start backing up, if not for your business, for the sake of our history and self preservation.

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David Bishop is a business blogger from London, England.