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Today is World Backup Day. So, why is it so important to backup your files? Let’s see:
- The cat jumps on your desk and walks by the lap top spilling the coffee on your keyboard – as if on purpose. As a result, your system crashes permanently.
- Your computer gets affected by some nasty ransomware and your files are forever messed up. And facepalming will not get them back.
- Your home gets flooded and your computer is gone.
- You forget the lap top at a coffee shop and minutes later, when you go back looking for it in hysteria, there is not even a trace of it.
- You drop your lap top and it never powers back on – ever again.
- Your home gets broken into, and your computer is stolen.
The list of scenarios goes on, but you get the idea… that if you don’t backup your files, you will be sorry.
Cyber Threats Such as Ransomware Take Advantage of Your Ignorance
Ransomware has grown in popularity tremendously thanks to ubiquitous human ignorance. Ransomware families such as CryptoWall, CTB-Locker, Locky and TeslaCrypt exist precisely because users massively do not backup their files either because they are not familiar with the hidden dangers of the Internet, or they are too careless. Ransomware then easily makes its way inside users’ systems, locks their files and requests a ransom fee in an exchange for a decryption key. And, most ransomware victims do pay because there’s hardly another way of recovering their files.
The problem with paying the ransom, however, is that cyber criminals not always provide a decryption key as promised, and they may continue to request payments multiple times while vainly fueling victims’ hopes of fixing their files. Paying the ransom only proves to cyber criminals that these threats do work and ransomware simply continues to grow in popularity. It’s even available for sale (ransomware-as-a-service or RAAS) so anyone with almost no IT background can buy it and use it to collect payments from whoever they target.
If you neatly back up your files, you are practically invincible to such cyber threats and you get to save yourself a whole lot of hassle.
How to Backup Your Data and Prevent Data Loss
As we have described above, you can lose your files with a blink of an eye and may not be able to restore them. The reasons for data loss most often are:
- Virus infections
- Data breaches
- Natural disasters
- Hard drive failures
- Hardware damages
Types of Backup
Full backup – With the full backup, the files you select for backup will be backed up. Every time you perform a backup, the entire list of files will be copied again. This method allows fast and easy restores but it’s quite time consuming and acquires more storage space compared to the other types of backup.
Incremental backup – The incremental backup has naturally been introduced as a more time-saving way to store your data. It saves only the data that has changed. The disadvantage of that method is that restoring your data will be time consuming. Let’s say you do a full backup on Monday, and then for the rest of the week you perform only incremental backups: on Tuesday you save only the changed data, on Wednesday you save only the new information that has occurred again, but if you need to restore data from Wednesday for example, you must restore the full backup from Monday, and then the backup from Tuesday and only then you can restore what’s been stored on Wednesday. If, however, some of the backups have been corrupted, then you will not be able to restore what you need.
Differential backup – Similarly to the incremental backup, the differential one is such that saves only the changes from the last full backup. However, while the incremental one saves the changes from the last incremental backup, the differential one saves the whole changes data since the last full backup. This method allows you to restore data faster, but it requires more space than the incremental one does.
Synthetic full backup – The synthetic full backup provides all the advantages of a full backup, but it allows far less time to restore backup files. The way it works is the backup server produces full backups by combining the full backup performed at the beginning with the data from the incremental backups that have followed the full backup. This way, we have a new full backup that is exactly like a regular full backup with all the newest information.
Which Backup Suits Your Needs Best
The types of backups described above mainly suit enterprises and organizations which require the storage of huge amount of data. For them, data loss means much more than lost productivity and may cost enterprises millions of dollars.
For regular PC/Mac users and freelancers data loss may also translate into financial downfalls and emotional breakdowns. And, while backups for enterprises require serious storage space and special maintenance and attention, domestic users can backup their files quickly and easily – by themselves. The best thing any user can do is to perform a full backup once a month. We also recommend the assistance of specialized backup tools to ensure a smooth backup process and properly saved data.