Do Cloud Backups offer you complete protection? Maybe..
With the advent and increased popularity of cloud backup services these days, many folks are falling into a false sense of security when it comes to backing up their home computers or office workstations.
Depending on the type of backup (if any) you perform on your computer to the cloud, you may be faced with several hours of work or more to restore your computer to the way it was from a major disaster like a hard drive crash or serious virus / malware infection.
Backup strategies, just like insurance policies, offer different levels of protection. Unlike Insurance policies however, employing a good backup strategy pays off without having to pay a premium every year once it’s in place.
A FULL backup – this is a method where ALL of the files and folders selected to be backed up will be backed up once. This is best achieved with an “Image” (or snapshot) of your entire hard drive. It backs up everything, including Windows settings, your Trash Can, Group Policy settings and so on.
Although highly effective in that your entire computer can be restored to exactly how it was since the last full backup was taken, it takes a long time to complete and storing multiple full backups uses a lot of space. That’s where “Incremental” backups are highly useful.
An INCREMENTAL BACKUP is a backup of all changes made since the “last full backup”. With Incremental backups, once full backup is done first and subsequent backup runs are just the changed and new files added since the first full backup is done, including all of Windows settings you may have changed.
The advantages of Incremental backups include 1. MUCH faster backups and efficient use of storage space as files are not duplicated. 2. Much less space is required compared to always running Full or even “differential” backups. 3. The ability to go to many previous versions of your files in case you make a mistake with just a few mouse clicks.
There are a couple of minor disadvantages in that an incremental backup takes a little longer to restore than a full back up in the event of a disaster. Restores are also slightly more complicated in that ALL backup sets are needed to perform the restore. With today’s cheap cost of storage however, this really isn’t an issue.
A DIFFERENTIAL backup falls in the middle between full backups and incremental backups. Similar to incremental backups, with differential backups, one full backup is done first and subsequent backup runs are the changes made since the last full backup.
Advantages of Differential backups include; Much faster backups than Full backups. 1. More efficient use of storage space than full backups since only file changed since the last full backup will be copied on each differential backup run. 2. Faster restores than Incremental backups. 3. Only the Full Backup and the Last Differential backup are needed to perform a restore.
Disadvantages of Differential backups however are quite a few compared to Incremental backups. 1. Differential backups run much slower than Incremental backups. 2. Nowhere near as efficient use of storage space as compared to Incremental backups. 3. Restores are much slower than with full or incremental backups. 4. Restores are more complicated than with full backups.
SIMPLE FILE BACKUPS – Though backing up your data files (Word and Excel Documents, PowerPoints, Family Photos etc.) is still a useful thing to do, none of your computer settings, software or Windows / Macintosh setup is backed up so you will be faced with a mountain of work to recover to the point before the disaster occurred.
You will basically have to start from scratch. Format the hard drive, install the operating system, re-install all of your software applications like Microsoft Office, your favourite Paint program, ITunes, Browser settings and Favourites you’ve saved over the years, the list goes on and on and on. Definitely not the best type of backup strategy, but if you’re not going to go to the trouble of setting up an Incremental backup routine, then it’s better than nothing.
WHICH BACKUP SOFTWARE
Windows and Macintosh have always come with their own free backup routines, but as with all things, you get what you pay for. They’re clumsy to use and sometime fail. You’re much better off using a backup program designed for the purpose for a very reasonable price.
ACRONIS – This is my own favourite backup software for office and home computers and I’ve been using it on my own Business and Home computers for years, both Windows and MAC’s. It has yet to let me down and saved my hide more times than I care to admit. It creates all the different types of backups discussed here with a minimum of fuss, is fast and very intuitive to use. The price of the product is a pittance when you consider the peace of mind it gives you. Set and forget.
MACRIUM REFLECT – If you’re looking for an excellent backup program that has a FREE option for home users, then Macrium Reflect could be the solution for you. Note that the free version does not allow you to automate backups – you must manually create full backups each time you want to use, but for those of you that are price conscious, it’s a great solution much better than Windows built in solutions.
SETTING UP A BACKUP STRATEGY
Many people find it a daunting task to setup a backup strategy, but that’s where Andrews Computer Help Zone is here to help. We will do the following;
- Every PC is different and everyone’s needs differ. We will (with your permission) log in to your computer remotely and advise on the best type of backup strategy for you while we chat on the phone. This service is provided FREE of charge.
- Once we’re discussed what’s most suitable for you, I’ll do the lot, from purchasing the software on your behalf, installing and configuring it to your preferences and create you first initial backup giving you instant peace of mind.
Or simple phone us and have a chat about this or any of your computer needs. Contact details are on the website.
I hope you found this information useful.
Best wishes for a happy and safe 2016..
Andrews Computer Help Zone Pty Ltd
PREMIUM IT SUPPORT PROVIDER