What would you do if you lost everything on your computer, phone, or network?
Have you done a backup recently? What would you do if your documents folder suddenly disappeared overnight? What would happen if an important document was lost, saved over, or corrupted? If the system your files are stored on is stolen or affected by fire, how would you recover them?
Backup is one of those topics that many people ignore until it is too late. Backing up your data must be proactive and not reactive. There are many assumptions made around how ‘safe’ your files and folders, especially with the shift to more and more people saving data in the cloud. There are three main areas we will explore in this article, including personal file backups; server system backups, and cloud systems backups.
Personal File Backups
Where are your files stored right now? Are they on your desktop? Are they in a shared folder or drive starting with a letter like ‘H:\’? Are they in Google Drive and you access them through a web browser? Wherever your files are, how do you know they are protected and recoverable in the event of something happening to them?
Critical files that you would be lost without should always be backed up by you, the user. Otherwise how do you know they are secure? Whether it be a daily, weekly, or monthly backup, there are a number of solutions available for the desktop or laptop user. USB keys or external USB drives are an excellent, cost-effective personal backup solution. Apple users will have access to Time Machine, a built-in backup tool that regularly backs up changes to your files and provides an intuitive interface from which to recover files and works really well with external drives. Windows users have the Windows Backup Tool provided which allows users to schedule a regular backup task to an external drive.
Server System Backups
Many schools use a central fileserver where all the school data is stored. This is not just files and folders but also can include the library database, the student management system, or other critical data. Typically, these systems are backed up every night outside of school hours and should be backed up to a device that is physically separated from the server location. This might be a network-attached storage (NAS) device or some other form of backup device. Having the backup device physically separated from the server location mitigates the risk of data loss from fire or theft, but does not guarantee data protection if an entire site is affected. This was realised by a number of schools following the Christchurch earthquake where both the school data and the backup were inaccessible. Schools who implemented a cloud-based backup system were able to retrieve their data and restore this to a new location and continue operating.
If you are unsure what backup solution your school uses or if you are interested in a cloud backup option for your school, please talk to us.
Cloud System Backups
If you store your files in Google Drive or Microsoft OneDrive, there are synchronisation tools provided that enable you to work on your documents both on your device and in the cloud. These however, are not backup tools, but synchronisation tools. If the contents of a document are deleted or corrupted, that change will synchronise to the cloud drive.
Luckily, these cloud systems typically store all changes to files for 30 days and provide a “version history” which can be restored. But what happens if you don’t notice any lost data in a file for 30 days? Once that time period has expired, the previous contents will be lost.
TTS can provide a solution that works for both Google Drive and Microsoft OneDrive sites. This ensures a backup of these cloud files should any disaster occur.