by Simon Whitford, Senior Regional Marketing Manager, Content Solutions Business, APAC, WD
Seconds tick by; your brow is slicked with cold sweat. You try desperately to open and re-open a document painstakingly prepared and assumed safely tucked away on your desktop. Unfortunately, error messages pop up repeatedly; regret sinks in at not making backing up your data a priority.
There are a number of ways you could lose data. Individuals and organisations often lose important documents because of accidental erasure, viruses, lost or stolen laptops or drive failure, whether from wear and tear or otherwise. The result – a lot of anxiety, stress; and in the case of businesses, lost productivity and revenue.
Backing up your data is no longer a question of if or when. Anyone who leverages a device to save or store data needs to prepare for the eventuality of technology failure or human error. The number one rule on data storage is not putting all your eggs in one basket. The correct definition of backup is a duplicate copy of your data in another location i.e. on another storage device like a USB hard drive.
Here are some ways to ensure you won’t lose sleep the next time your computer hard drive fails:
1. Park your data in your home network.
You can consider connecting a storage device to your home network, especially if you are especially concerned about security or if you have more than one computer on the network. A Network-Attached Storage (NAS) device serves as a shared space for backing up and sharing files across your home network, useful if you have more than one computer in the household. With its quick delivery and useful personal cloud features, the My Cloud EX2 by WD is the perfect network storage device for a closely connected home.
2. RAID your files.
RAID, otherwise known as Redundant Array of Independent Disks, is a cost-effective method of combining multiple drives into a more powerful, quicker array. The most common RAID modes used in consumer-grade NAS boxes are RAID 0 , 1 and 5. RAID 0 is where drives are “striped” for better performance and to maximize capacity, but with no redundancy. In RAID 1, drives are “mirrored”, resulting in redundancy while sacrificing overall capacity. RAID 5 mode incorporates “distributed parity”, which allows the array to survive the loss of a single drive, allowing continued access to your data as the faulty drive is replaced.
Of course, not all hard drives are suited to the always-on environment that a typical NAS is subjected to, so it’s best to pick drives that are made for the task. For example, the WD Red hard drives are designed to provide the best balance between cost and reliability in personal or small office NAS setups.
If you’ve got a couple of IP cameras connected to your office NAS box as surveillance, you could consider the WD Purple hard drives, designed for small business surveillance systems with up to 32 cameras.
If terms like RAID make you uncomfortable and you would like to have content duplicated on the storage device automatically, then WD has you covered with the My Cloud Mirror which is a 2 drive Personal Cloud (NAS) that is setup as a mirror; this means you have one copy of your data on each drive.
3. Move to the cloud.
The cloud is becoming omnipresent, likewise the idea of cloud storage, which brings a new standard to ease of use and convenience. Data backups can be hosted remotely and you can access your documents any time from any device. WD My Passport portable drives come with WD’s SmartWare Pro automatic backup software, which lets users backup data either to the drive itself, or to the cloud using DropBox. It also allows you to back up your DropBox account back to your drive.
4. Rely on an external hard drive.
There are several benefits to leveraging an external hard drive. Firstly, there is literally no limit to your storage capacity, seeing how you can simply add a new external hard drive to your collection once you run out of space.
Secondly, an external hard drive is pretty much a plug and play device, thanks to USB technology, which is easy virtually universal to computers. Thirdly, it is always good to have something physical to fall back on, should there be problems connecting to your cloud backups on the Internet. It helps that external hard drives are not only getting smaller and more convenient to carry around, they are also able to carry a lot more storage now.
Last but not least, portable hard drives make for convenient off-site backups which you can lock in a drawer, or a safe.
Today, there are both offline and online backup tools and services. Do look for tools that allow your data backup to be password protected to ensure the security of your data. You can also arrange for these tools to automatically launch a backup at regular intervals, for instance once a month, or continuously with software such as WD Smartware. This is to provide peace of mind that even if backing up your data slips your mind – you are covered.
Simon Whitford is Senior Regional Marketing Manager of Content Solutions Business (APAC), WD.