Data Loss Prevention

The worst nightmare of a computer owner is losing critical data forever: a coffee spill, a power surge, a fumbled laptop. Any of these accidents can, in a single moment, lead to the loss of year’s worth of documents, photos, music, and other irreplaceable files.

Thanks to modern technology, even severe damage to a hard drive does not have to mean catastrophe. There are forensic laboratories capable of recovering data from hard drives that have undergone severe physical damage with remarkably high success rates. However, these services can be quite expensive, and are not guaranteed to work. They are best thought of as a last resort rather than a good safety net.

The best defense against losing your data is to back it up regularly so that the need for a lab or other data recovery service never arises. There are various hardware options for backing up data, depending on the type of data and how much of it you want to back up. External hard drives are quite popular because they are not overly complicated to use and can be purchased relatively cheaply, depending on the size of the hard drive.

Even with an external drive, human nature is to procrastinate. People often fail to back up their data frequently enough and much of it remains vulnerable to an accident or a hard drive failure. Fortunately, there are programs like Macrium Reflect that can solve this problem.

Macrium Reflect can be set up to automatically back up your data on a customizable schedule. This has the advantage of requiring no effort or thought on the part of the user, other than setting preferences in the initial setup about when, how often, and what Macrium Reflect should back up. Most backups have the disadvantage of only storing files that you specify. Should something happen, anything else on the computer, including your apps, software, or any other files, is most likely lost. The types of backups Macrium Reflect takes are much more versatile in that, even if the entire computer is destroyed, the backup can restore everything to exactly how it was on the old system, software and all, even on a completely different computer.

Although this backup is versatile and nearly perfect in its content, it’s important to recognize that things can still go wrong with the backup itself. External hard drives can be dropped, unplugged, or fail due to age. People can forget to reconnect their hard drives after moving or taking their laptops to work. Even the best software can have bugs and may sometimes just decide not to work as it once did. For extra security, it’s important to consider a cloud backup.

A lot of people assign a “magical” or “unknowable” quality to the cloud, but it’s really pretty straightforward. For most intents and purposes, the cloud is just storage that you rent on a company’s computer elsewhere on the internet. You can think of it almost like a storage unit you get at a self-storage company, or a safety deposit box at a bank, but for digital files. By many definitions, even something like email can be described as “the cloud,” since all of your emails are merely files stored on Google, Yahoo, AOL, or another company’s servers.

In the case of backing up your computer, the cloud has a lot of advantages. No cloud backup can store quite as much as a local backup, but the important quality here is location: if your house burns down, you have a pipe burst, or some other disaster occurs, your files will be safe somewhere else. Likewise, so long as you have your account information, you can access your data and continue backing up anywhere that you can access the internet. For people on the go, this is especially important, as a laptop you bring with you when you travel or commute is much more likely to break, and much less likely to get plugged back in to a backup drive when returned home.

Many services are available for cloud storage and backup, and they all have their strengths and weaknesses. We can help find the product that’s right for you and ensure that your data is safe, no matter what may happen.

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