Present IT technology allows users to store and process enormous amounts of data. For example, a movie occupies about 5GB of drive space, and some people have large collections of them. It is not uncommon for an ordinary home desktop PC user to have in excess of 1TB of drive space. However, trouble arises when the PC is not functional, whether due to hardware malfunction or malicious software, or goes missing through theft. Lost data may be extremely hard or even impossible to retrieve, especially where it has taken a long time to accumulate or cannot be re-generated. Data backup then becomes very important.
There are different methods of data backup. They can be put into two basic categories – physical user backup, and cloud storage.
Under the first heading, there are the traditional re-recording options, such as CDs, DVDs, external drives or even separate internal drives which are not usually installed in the machine in question. All of these methods require extra hardware or, at least, a plentiful supply of blank discs. It is therefore important for the user to prioritize what exactly they want to back up. Ease of replacement is a factor in this decision-making process.
Cloud storage involves the use of an external website to store data. This is a more limited option because it is usually not free, or may be subject to much more severe restrictions on storage space. Such sites are also subject to malicious attacks sometimes, or may shut down suddenly. Also, uploading large amounts of data consumes bandwidth and may be expensive. The user should always be extremely cautious in how they assess and select the most suitable cloud storage option.
Security is, of course, a serious consideration in data backup management. Where cloud storage is prone to hacking attempts (because hackers are aware that a large amount of data is stored on such sites), physical backup by the user runs the risk of the destruction or loss of the backup drives or discs. The requisite level of security needs to be determined according to the user’s situation.