Sunday 25 January 2009

Home Backup Strategy - Part 3 - Automating Backups - Conclusion

In part 1 of this article we introduced the problem of having large amounts of data on home PCs without having a backup strategy.

In part 2 we discussed the options that you have when considering a backup strategy.

In the final part of this article we will look at how each option needs to be automated in order to be a fully functional backup system and then we will come to a conclusion about home backup strategies.

Humans are lazy and forgetful so if we leave it to us to make regular backups then we wouldn't have a good backup system. To be sure of a good as possible backup system we need to minimise the human factor. Most of the external hard drives, NAS devices and on-line backup systems come bundled with some type of backup software.

Bundled software will do the job but they are usually custom software for each backup device. This is why we recommend that you use free software to setup and schedule your backups. Two great examples are SyncToy and Robocopy. Both these programs can be used with any type of drive and both are easy to automate and run periodically. SyncToy is more user friendly than Robocopy but you should look at Robocopy if you want to do advanced backups.

With an automated system it is imperative that you check to make sure that it is running. You should do this as regularly as is necessary.


So to conclude we would recommend that an external hard drive will be the appropriate backup solution for the average home user. External drives provide the best compromise for ease of use, capacity, speed and cost from all our options. USB drives storage capacity is too small, internal drives are susceptible to the same problems as the system being backed up, NAS devices could be a valid backup system for power home users but are a bit over kill for the average user and on-line backups don't have the bandwidth to be considered for a full home system backup.

However it is still important to remember that backup destinations are only half the solution. If you don't create regular backups then even the most high tech solution will fail. Automating backup tasks is the best way to make regular backups but this needs to be monitored to make sure it keeps on working.

Backup isn't the most glamourous subject but you don't want to be in the situation where you realise how important backups are after it is too late.

Amazon link to our recommended backup device option:

Maxtor OneTouch 4 Plus 500GB External Hard Drive

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