How good is your back up system?

A colleague recently experienced a hard drive failure. No problem, he thought, since he backed up his drive nightly.

However, when he went to restore his data he discovered that although his Seagate drive had been making reassuring noises and then delivering a “backed up” message, the newest data on his drive was a year old.

A quick visit to a data recovery center indicated that they could probably get the data back — to the tune of $2500 and more than a couple of new gray hairs.

Even though most people have gotten better about backing up their data, there are probably things that most of us could — and should — do better. Checking the integrity of the data is one. Using redundant sources is another.

I lost my data about 10 years ago when I stupidly opened an email with a virus. I, too, had a Seagate back up system and I too was surprised to find that my data was not current (tape was full). Operator error is a hard pill to swallow and since then I’ve become more religious about keeping my data current.

I have three back up systems for my hard drive. Two are online systems — with different companies (Mozy Pro and iDrive). One backs up nightly, one backs up weekly. I also have a portable hard drive on which I use Apple’s Time Machine to back up every day or so.

In addition to that, I have all of my business emails archived both on a server and on a separate gmail account. Maintaining records of my correspondence with clients can be critical when reconstructing projects.

In fact, I thought about dropping one of my online services just recently, when it came up for renewal. On balance, I decided, the investment was worth the peace of mind it gives me. Now that I heard what happened to my colleague — I’m glad I made that decision!

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