Here’s a cautionary tale for the twenty-first century. There was this amazing, dashing, and creative individual who used his computer a lot for work and leisure purposes. His most important data resided on a flash drive that was in the shape of a TARDIS.
Then one day, the flash drive got corrupted and all of that lovely information, his pictures, cat videos, freelance work, hobby-related files, was lost. Though he always made two other copies of his data (one on his laptop’s hard drive and the other in the cloud), he didn’t have short intervals between backups. As a result, he had to recreate all of the data created from the time of the last backup to the present.
Obviously, yes, the individual in question is Yours Truly, and even though I am a believer in multiple backups, I fell short in the frequency department and paid the price.
Heed the words of Headless Guy. Back up your files, and do it often
Back Up Often
The article “Are Your App Developers Taking Backups Seriously?” drives home the point that you and your co-workers need to make sure that information is being backed up during every stage of development. That means you need to back up often. Heed the above story. Backups are fine, but they aren’t as effective if you let too much time lapse between them.
What Should You Back Up?
Bottom line, you should back up all data that you can’t afford to lose. Fortunately, in the case above, cat videos and clever Internet memes are a dime a dozen and easily found. Freelance work, on the other hand, is valuable information.
Obey The Rule Of Three
This universally-held rule of backups should be followed by all computer users, be they engaging in business or simply using their system at home.
The Rule states that you should have three copies of your data, stored on two different media, and one of them being located offsite. So, for instance, the above tale of woe did indeed show that the data was backed up according to the rule. There were three copies, they were actually stored on three different media (hard drive, flash drive, the cloud), and one of them was offsite, that being the cloud, or in this particular case, Google Drive.
Google Drive is highly recommended, incidentally. You get 15 gigs for free, and it’s well worth it.
Tying It All Together
As you can see, the process of creating an effective, current backup requires following ALL of the above steps. Adhering to the Rule of Three is great and all, but if you wait too long before updating those backups, then you’re skating on thin ice. Yes, it can be tedious, but in the long run, you won’t be sorry for doing it.
Think of backups as just another form of insurance, right up there with auto, life, home, and health insurance. You don’t want to have to pay for them and deal with their individual hassles, but you need them in the event of a crisis, and crises never come when you expect them.
For more insights into backups, check out “Stuff You Don’t Back Up And Really Should”.