IT security experts have been reminding everyone to “backup, backup, backup” for decades now, in fact since the introduction of peripheral storage devices such as the DVDs and USB flash drives. Backup systems are not products of rocket science, in fact, tape drives have been in the market since at least the 1960s. The high cost of tapes, and even DVDs and USB-flash drives (during their first few years of introduction) has restricted full drive backups to just huge enterprises.
As hard drives grew in capacity, it coincided with the growth of the peripheral storage industry, bringing consumers cheap DVD-RWs and USB flash drives by mid-2000. At that point, there is really no valid reason for anyone not to have a backup. The use of the old diskettes which were limited to just 1.44MB in capacity discouraged users from creating multiple copies of their files across different media during the ’80s and ’90s. During those times, only small MS Office files can be stored on those floppy disks, and the technology was very susceptible to data loss due to its vulnerability of being deleted if it gets near a permanent magnet.
The new decade, which started in 2010 brought about to increase the maturity of online cloud storage services. Remember the top names in tech: Google, Microsoft, Amazon and Apple, yes, all of them have their own cloud storage service. This opens everyone to a better opportunity for easy backup of files, regardless of size and number. From a free package to the corporate package, the vendors in the cloud storage space are competing for subscribers with the best service they can offer.
Backup systems, whether through the use of traditional external storage devices or through the cloud are the primary defense against malware infestation. The goal of malware is to ‘profit’ at the expense of the user, through the use of clever procedures of encrypting user files and demand ransom for decryption, outright silent take-over of the system to steal files without the user knowing or plain deletion of data as part of its programming. An efficient backup system will save users (and enterprises) from the time and effort to rebuild the lost/damaged data from scratch.
There are times that without a backup, companies have to hire external contractors to rebuild the damaged database which used to hold their customers’ information. The damage to the brand is an even bigger worry for companies to provide funding for, and it takes a while for a damaged brand to be repaired with the help of expensive PR firms and damage-control contractors.
Quick recovery from digital trouble is what a reliable backup system provides to any company and individuals who depend on computers with their day-to-day operations. A careful look at the options for backup, it is better to combine traditional backups using external storage devices and cloud backups. External storage backups are not as reliable, as physical equipment requires care by the company (the owner of the device), but it provides a speedy backup. Cloud backups have high reliability, given that vendors have redundant systems in place that prevents failure of backup due to hardware issues. Cloud backups are good for quick backups of small files, as it relies on the upload bandwidth of the computer/network in order to bring the copies of the files to the remote servers. Never let the cost of backup discourage anyone from doing the right thing, it is the least an individual or company can do in order to quickly recover from any digital disaster.