Your data is absolutely precious

This isn’t hyperbole or exaggeration; whether it’s your company’s accounts, your project data, records, or anything else, chances are there are things on your computers that can never, ever be replaced. A lot of things you are in fact legally obligated to store for several years, and it’s no coincidence that most companies, if  they suffer permanent data loss, go out of business in a matter of months.

But is it protected?

For something so valuable, it’s surprising how little care people take to preserve it. At ISCAdigital, we see a lot of data pass through our doors; a lot of the time when we ask the question ‘is it backed up?’, the answer is usually ‘no’, ‘not recently’, or ‘not all of it’. Now, a lot of the time when we’ve had customers with failing hard drives we’ve been able to recover the contents fully; even if the customer has full backups, we make every effort to keep things just as they are. But sometimes the worst happens, and the drive is dead, nothing is going to bring back your data. We hate this as much as you do, which is why you need proper backups.

What is a proper backup?

A backup isn’t just ‘copy files to an external drive’. This is certainly a basic way of doing it, but no-one will remember to plug the drive in, copy all their data across, and take it out again every single day. A proper backup system:

  • Is automatic. Whether it’s hourly, daily, or even weekly, it doesn’t rely on you. Your computer is excellent at remembering to do routine things; so why not let it do the work for you?
  • Is robust. Your data needs to be on at least three devices, ideally, and one of them should be off-site. This could be a friend’s house, your house (if the computer is in the office), another office of your business, or one of any number of cloud backup providers.
  • Is reliable. It’s no good having backups if none of them work. Ideally this means testing them on a regular basis to ensure they’re what you’re expecting. But realistically, no-one wants to do that, so you’ll want to select backup systems you can trust.

The solutions

Now, choosing a backup solution is no simple matter, and it greatly depends on how quickly you need to get back up and running in the event of a problem, how much money you’re willing to spend to make it work, and how much redundancy you can afford.

For Mac Users

Time Machine for Mac is simple and easy to use

We absolutely cannot recommend Time Machine enough. It’s built into every single mac in the past decade, it provides quality, easily viewed incremental updates to any external drive or NAS. It’s one of the best things about OSX / macOS and is incredibly simple to use. Again, we suggest complimenting with online backup. Arq to Amazon S3 is a good option.

For Small Business Windows Users

Time is money. You have something fail, you want it back up and running yesterday. For this, we recommend a NAS or dedicated windows box hosting backups with Macrium Reflect Workstation or Server, uploaded to Amazon S3 via Synology (NAS) or Arq (Windows). Macrium takes full image backups of computers at lightning speed, and if saved to a Windows 10 Pro machine, those backups can be booted straight up in a VM on that box within minutes, saving you costly downtime. Restores are as fast as physically possible, and in the event of a fire or other disaster, Amazon S3 provides an extremely high retention rate backed by a large, profitable organisation with very low chance of going under.

At ISCAdigital, we also offer our own backup solution as a stand-alone service or as an add-on for our support customers. These backups utilise Macrium for local backups and/or Cloudberry for cloud backups, all setup and managed by us for your peace-of-mind. Get in touch for more details on this option.

We also recommend iDrive to businesses as their cloud backups if they’re more financially constrained.