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Data backup 101: what would you do if you lost everything?

Have you done a backup recently?

What would you do if your documents folder suddenly disappeared overnight, or 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: 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.

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Hi, I'm Janet

janet badley

I have been working for TTS for the past 7 years assisting schools with their technology infrastructure and digital alignment with the MoE.

Before that I was completing a Batchelors of Business with a major in Management and a Graduate Diploma in Business Administration, I worked in Massey University tutoring, relief lecturing, and marking in the business college while also being a director of a small software company. I also previously held roles as sales manager in the corporate world.

Within the professional learning environment, I specialise in assisting schools with strategic management, change management and leadership. These are all challenging areas that often require specific planning and implementation. Change is not only synonymous with technology but is part of the daily environment in education and embracing change can be a daunting. My goal is to assist schools to feel comfortable and accepting of necessary change.

Hi, I'm Caroline

I have worked in Education for over 25 years in early childhood, primary, intermediate, secondary and currently at a tertiary level. During that time, I led many diverse roles including being a teacher aide, a teacher, a co-counsellor and an adult educator. I have a post-graduate diploma in Teaching as well as a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Education. In 2022, I completed a Master in Contemporary Teaching through The Mindlab.
Currently a lecturer in Unitec, Te Pūkenga on a foundation course for ākonga with disability and/ or neurodiversity, I had spent the last four years working in a specialist residential school for ākonga with extreme behaviours. Throughout this time, I researched, trialled and implemented trauma-informed practices to help support ākonga who had previously disengaged from education to re-engage.
My passion for trying to grow resilience and self-efficacy in ākonga runs alongside a passion for using digital applications/ techniques, personalised learning and gamerfication for encouraging and increasing engagement.

Hi, I'm Nicole

tts pld team nicole middleton

I am a graphic and digital designer with nearly 20 years experience designing for the digital realm. I have a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Visual Communication, a Certificate in Computer Engineering and am a certified Adobe Creative Educator.

I am passionate about using technology to bring ideas to life and love encouraging learners to look for new ways to answer old questions. As a life-long learner myself, I always enjoy trying out new creative tools and exploring the impact they can have on students’ learning outcomes.

I am excited to be part of the TTS team and continue to help schools make the most of their websites and support teachers and students in creating engaging graphics, presentations, videos, websites, and more.

Hi, I'm Dr. Wendy

Dr. Wendy Slatter

I’m a teacher with 20 years of classroom experience in a range of schools, locations, deciles and age groupings. I have background in technology education with a specialisation in Food and Material Technology.

I am passionate about technology education. So much so that it lead me to complete a Masters and PhD in Education qualifications where I explored communities of practice, teacher pedagogy and defined technological food literacy. I believe that many hands make light work, and networking and collaboration are key tools in the teacher kete.

I am currently part of the Subject Expert Group working with the Ministry of Education on the Review of Achievement Standards project.

Hi, I'm Karen

I am a primary trained teacher with over 20 years’ experience finding new ways to effectively implement digital technologies into the classroom. I have always been passionate about finding and utilising digital tools within my class, and I enjoy exploring the internet to find new tools and learn about new ways in which other educators use digital technologies to best support their students.

I believe that is it important to find the right tools for you and your students as every class and school is different. Digital tools and technologies change rapidly and what may not have been suitable in the past could be just what you need now. I look forward to working with and supporting you to find and implement the best digital technologies for your specific learning environment.

Hi, I'm Dr. Phill

I am a specialist teacher and PLD provider of creative writing, drawing on 20 years’ hands-on experience in the primary classroom teaching years 0-6, and as literacy leader, ALL teacher and CoL teacher.

In addition to my classroom experience, I bring my own experiences as a creative writer to my PLD sessions. I have published over 100-chapter books and 9 novels. Much of my published content is for the education market in NZ, Australia, the U.S, U.K and China. Publishers include Macmillan, Pearson, Oxford University Press, Capstone, Lift education, Sunshine books and Cengage. In addition, I have written several assessment and comprehension guides as well as books on how to teach creative writing (Essential resources). I hold a Doctorate in Education (EdD), where I investigated how primary school teachers teach creative writing, often focusing on the use of digital technology. As well as education and teaching qualifications, I also hold a Masters in Creative Writing.

I can provide individual hands-on modelling and feedback, as well as whole staff PLD. In addition, I examine the potential of new media (technology) in creative writing pedagogy.

Hi, I'm Heather

I am a primary teacher of 30+ years experience covering all year levels from 1-8. I believe in “lifelong learning” and am passionate about encouraging teachers to be facilitators of their learning, and that of their students. I believe knowing when, what, why and how to implement digital tools to fit the purpose of “the teaching and learning” is essential today. I believe relationships are intrinsic in education, connecting people with tools/resources for teaching and learning, and how they support creativity, collaboration and innovation.

Hi, I'm Michael

Michael is a teacher with 8 years classroom experience, and has taught students from years 1 through to 8. He has a bachelor of teaching and continues to learn through post-graduate studies. Michael is passionate about literacy education, and how reading and writing can – and should – be made accessible and interesting for all learners in schools. As a teacher, he recognises the need for resources that engage, enable, and empower students so they can achieve a meaningful, successful, and sustainable education.

Hi, I'm Nick

I am an MoE Accredited PLD facilitator with a BEd (Hons) Degree in Education. I have over 20 years of experience in teaching 11 to 18-year-olds, with the last fourteen years being in New Zealand. I believe in empowering teachers to be confident in a modern learning environment and to discover new ways of inspiring students. I am a firm believer of continuous improvement in the skills of a teacher to deliver a more interactive, productive and engaging experience. I am extremely skilled with Google Suite/Apps and Microsoft.

Hi, I'm Steve