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Data Security and Windows Backup Strategies

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					When it comes to data security, tight access control is critical.
Consider the headlines for breaches in data security. Besides the obvious
need to control access to a network, data located on laptops that are
then stolen are the number 1 cause for data theft. This is especially
relevant to backup data - the things businesses depend on to continue
operating in the event of theft, accident, or other data
compromise.Regarding computer backup strategies, it goes without saying
that any form of backup is better than none. When speaking with business
owners and self-employed people, it is never a question of should it be
done; the questions are what gets backed up, when, and how? There are 3
main methods of backing up a Windows computer, as shown below:
Local Media Backup - Backing up to a physically attached device
Cloud Backup - Monthly subscription service backing up your data to the
internet
Private Cloud Backup - Backing up to network-attached storage (NAS)
Though they all have their merits, some options are certainly better than
others for most. What is the best method of backup for a Windows
computer? This question seems similar to the question "What is the best
form of exercise?" While there may be any number of responses, it does
depend a bit on the circumstance. To a person that does not exercise, any
form of exercise done regularly is the best. To a person that exercises
regularly, the time available, equipment cost, and risk of injury may be
the factors that matter most.Local Media BackupTraditional backup
involves copying data files to local media, such as a CD-ROM, DVD-ROM,
external hard disk drive, or even tape backup devices. The methods for
copying files to these media range from very manual means (copying a
folder or folders to the external media) to highly automated methods.
While local media can be the simplest in terms of setup and usage, backup
applications vary in terms of configuration and ease of use. Typically,
this form of backup requires scheduling or some form of procedure to
carry out the backup process.Advantages
Cost - hard disk drives continue dropping in price, and are purchased
once
Security - data that never leaves your possession is safe
Performance - data stored locally is readily accessible and fast to
transfer
Disadvantages
Management - storing, organizing, and locking up physical items is
required
Durability - physical media are susceptible to damage by fire, dropping
Cloud BackupCommon offerings in cloud-based backup include Carbonite and
Mozy. For a monthly subscription, an application running on your computer
will copy data files from your computer, via Internet, to a facility with
numerous hard disk drives. The security and privacy of your data are
addressed by encrypting the data both during transfer over the Internet
and as files stored in the facility.Advantages
Convenience - files are copied over the Internet automatically
Low upfront cost - billed monthly or annually
Safety - offsite storage of data ensures disaster recovery options
Disadvantages
Performance - large amounts of data require significant time
Cost - subscriptions for multiple computers add up
Security - data encryption is good, but what if the company folds?
Private Cloud BackupWhat if cloud backup and local media were blended in
a manner yielding the best of both? Enter Private Cloud Backup. The
concept is simple; place a storage device on your network and use
software to back up your computer to that storage. Network Attached
Storage (NAS) is readily available and allows you to place the NAS
anywhere on your network, whether local or at a distance.Properties
Cost - highest upfront cost (large drive for everyone with room to grow),
but lowest long-term cost (no monthly fee and no drive purchase each time
a new employee is hired)
Security - data is out of sight but on-site (and therefore accessible)
Performance - data stored locally is readily accessible and fast to
transfer
Management - storing, organizing, and locking up physical items is
required, but only once for the entire department or office
Durability - physical media are susceptible to damage by rare incidents
like a fire, but with redundant (RAID) drive setup, and under watch in a
secure location, NAS devices are much less susceptible to local phenomena
like spilling coffee or being dropped or kicked
Overall, private cloud backup makes the most sense for many businesses.
It requires some network familiarity, but is generally quite similar to
simple local backup.

				
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