Don’t Be an April Fool… March 31st, 2018 is World Backup Day

World Backup Day is set aside as a reminder to back up your files, even if it’s once a year! Highlighting the cause, every March 31st is World Backup Day! This day brings about awareness for every man, woman, and child that accesses data from any device to review their backup policies and—if none are in place—create a plan that will protect all the data on all your devices so you’re never left out in the cold again.

Data, it is said, is the most expensive part of a computer. Components may be upgraded and equipment replaced, but the precious data contained in all machines is virtually irreplaceable if lost. Every day people, businesses, even games lose huge amounts of valuable data because they fail to follow one basic procedure – backup.  A backup is a reserve copy of all the files you’d never want to lose. There’s nothing more traumatizing than losing your phone, or having your hard drive crash, and having hundreds of valuable and irreplaceable documents or photos suddenly gone beyond retrieval.

What causes data loss?

Data loss comes in many shapes and forms, and it affects different types of devices in varying ways. Smartphones, for example, typically experience catastrophic data loss (being the type that is irrecoverable) due to being destroyed from human actions or extensive water damage. 29% of all disasters are caused by accidents, costing valuable time and money as the resources they affected are lost forever. Desktops and laptops more commonly see the storage device, such as a hard drive, failing and taking with it any data stored therein.

However, data loss doesn’t have to result from hardware damage as many valid forms of loss stem from theft of equipment, corruption, and increasingly from malware infections, like the ransomware that has been infecting corporate desktops and encrypting their data, withholding the encryption key until a ransom is paid. You may feel your computer is safe, but 1 in 10 of all computers, including household and business computers, are infected with a virus that may suddenly cause all of your data to be gone beyond retrieval.

No matter how secure or safe you feel your data and equipment is, it’s important to back up your files. In our electronic based world, there are hundreds of ways to suddenly have things go terribly awry. “But my phone is always on me!” I hear you say! Wonderful! That’ll make it easier for you to be one of the 113 phones stolen every minute, each day. In this modern digital world, many of us live from our phones. Whether it’s for business, or just personal use, these electronic assistants often contain gigs of valuable documents, pictures, videos, and music. Do you really want to chance losing all of that when backup options are so easy and available?

That is why a good backup plan is tantamount to keeping data safe, secured, and ready to use across any number of computing devices used daily. From smartphones to laptops to servers and wearable’s—data should be secured for all your myriad of devices, both personally and professionally.

Who should be making data backups?

Anyone and everyone who relies on a computing device to create, edit, or otherwise modify data for business and/or personal use should have a daily backup plan in place to protect that data in case of loss.

Through the use of at least one—though preferably more—backups to ensure a copy of the data is stored on another medium in case the primary storage mechanism fails.

How can data be protected from loss?

There are many ways you can use to backup your files. Most phones are connected to some form of backup system. iPhones are tied directly into iTunes, which can back up all of your valuable data, you just need to plug into your computer and update the files daily! You can even do it as part of charging, just plug it in to your computer, set it to backup, and it’ll go about the process automatically while it takes a charge.

The most common method is through the use of an external USB hard drive or a network-connected hard drive. These devices usually provide adequate protection for data backup. However, with more users opting for mobility, this means that the backup will only occur when the end user has connected the drive to the computer, and part of the “problem” with data loss in general is that it occurs in large part due to human error. So, trusting to remember to plug in the drive daily is not the best option.

Luckily, most devices are internet-enabled, and having an “always-on” connection makes cloud-based offerings perfect candidates for backup, especially since most cloud services offer a “set-it-and-forget-it” method of ensuring data is backed up automatically after the initial setup has been completed.

Another option is open that is the ‘all inclusive’ option. If you’d prefer to back up everything instead of just bits and pieces, there are tons of places online that will give you reviews of dozens of options for full backup services. Take some time to cruise through them and decide which one is right for you. Remember, if the only copy you have of your important files is all in one place, it only takes one accident, one small disaster for you to lose them all.

When should backups occur?

Backups should be performed daily. Daily backups are considered “current” and will involve the least amount of recovery time since chances are the data is one day old at maximum.

Ongoing backup is preferred, as there are a number of backup solutions—local and cloud-based—that offer software that works to monitor your system(s) and perform continuous backups of data that is modified, as it is modified.

However, theory is often different from real-world scenarios, in the real-world; you might not be able to perform a backup while using your device during the day, so it would have to wait until a time in which the device is not in use.

This is why the 3-2-1 rule for data backups makes logical sense for the real world, as it introduces flexibility. The 3-2-1 rule assumes that there should be at least 3 copies of data that are stored on at least 2 different media, and at least 1 of the copies must be stored offsite.

In a perfect world, each copy would be identical and replicating, which means if one copy is changed, the remaining copies update to change as well. But again, theory is seldom similar to the real world. What this does help with is providing another backup type that allows the end user to access his/her data from another device stored on another medium.

A tried-and-true method of providing data security—and certainly one that extends to data backups, especially in the corporate realm—is the CIA principle. CIA is an acronym for Confidentiality, Integrity, and Availability. While CIA is an information security practice, it certainly lends itself well to data backups, since it is largely made up of the very same data that needs to be protected.

  • Confidentiality refers to restricting the data to only the parties that require access to that information. Typically, this would include encrypting data so that only those with the decryption key have access to view it.
  • Integrity requires ensuring that data is correct and has not been modified or made corrupt, thus rendering the information useless. An example of integrity would be file-versioning, which is included in most cloud-based services as a means to rollback data in the event that the current iteration of the file becomes lost or damaged.
  • Availability involves the data being accessible to users as needed. Similar to how larger websites host their content on multiple services in the event that one server fails, the secondary webserver will serve the required website in the absence of the primary webserver. Data backups may fail from time to time, due to the internet cutting out and not making a connection to a cloud-based service. So, when this occurs, a backup for the backup, so to speak, would fill the gap and still keep data protected from loss.


Why is data backup awareness only one day of the year?

Like any important day, remembrance should be daily. Backing up once a year does not make for a safe, or particularly secure, backup of your device’s important data.

Conversely, having too many stop gaps in place will likely create so much overhead that storage and backup will take over and prevent you from doing any work or enjoying your data in the first place.

So take the time to backup your files, and stop yourself from becoming one of this year’s April’s Fools.