Securing your home computer to work from home part 5: (Back-Ups)
In IT there is an adage when referring to backups: “Two is one, and One is none”. This simple phrase is designed to remind us that when you are dealing with your critical data backing up your information is important, but having a robust error resist system is even more important.
There are various ways to backup your important files, and depending on your companies systems, some backups may already be taking place, but having a simple and easily accessible backup solution in place will turn a really bad day, into a minor inconvenience.
Decide what you need to backup. Go through your files, and applications and decide what you would need to get back to work if your computer were suddenly gone and you had to configure a brand new machine. You may find it easier to write this down, or possibly your answer will be “everything” and that is an okay answer. When you know what to backup and where it is you can move onto the next step.
Decide on a destination. There are a lot of options on backup destinations, some of the most common are cloud storage providers, like Microsoft OneDrive; a physical device like a USB flash drive; or even a network appliance like an Apple Time Capsule. Each option has different pros and cons, and that is why using 2 different methods gives you the best chance of a simple recovery process.
Make a schedule and stick to it. Backups need to be reliable, and consistent to be effective. Ideally, your backups would use an automatic process to stay synchronized, and scheduling becomes a trivial task; but some methods require manual work, and you must build a schedule you can stick to easily.
Choose a backup tool. Finding the right solution will depend on all of the previous steps. There are a lot of good backup software packages available, some will charge an annual fee, others will be completely free, and some may even be included with your Operating System. You need to do your research and read reviews to find a product that works well for you. Try to use only one product for your multiple backups to help keep the backup solution as simple to maintain as possible.
Test your backup. There are two ways to find out if your backups are working correctly: Trying to restore your data after a major incident, or by occasionally restoring some or all your files, and ensuring they are correct. Many backup tools will offer a report on the success of your backups, but until a restore has been attempted, you cannot really know how the process works, and if it works for you.
Creating your backup plan may take some time to perfect for the way you want it to work, but it is well worth the effort the first time you need it.