Data Backups are must

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When I was a Software Developer, this was something sacrosanct – Backup and Recovery.  Especially I used to work in very voluminous backend database for large Telecom and Internet Service Provider. I remember some incidents where we had lost a complete set of data that is essential for us to do the authentication and authorisation of customers who would connect to the system – That is making a call / connecting to the internet. Once the data loss happened, every second counts for us in terms of revenue to the company. Every second it takes to recover the lost data the company would be loosing few thousands of rupees in revenue. This was my first incident I could sense the importance of backup and how much it can impact in business.

But this case is applicable for everybody these days – as everyone store most of your data in PCs/Laptops or Mobile phones. You have multiple storage devices and every damn thing you can imagine is now stored in digital form. So like how we used to insure our properties in life it is essential to have backups for all the data you are having in your PCs or other devices. At least those critical data which you would need – in case of losing that – you would be in a terrible state. Have them in a proper backup schedule.

External Hard Disks / Flash Drives

There are plenty of options for backup these days – The external hard disk rates have fallen so much – every body who can afford a PC would definitely can spend additional thousand rupees to have a external storage device to backup.  Pros : Easy way to maintain  - Lots of software available for free that would help in doing sync every time you connect to the device.  Cons: You must be very disciplined to follow the backup schedule every time so that you don’t have obsolete data in your backup when you lose original data. Also you must take additional care in maintaining the external storage device not to be damaged. ( Who will guard the guards problem – Who will take care of the backup data)

Cloud Storage

In the last 4 years I have used multiple online services for my data backup, which in a way gave the advantage of mobility of my data – access my important data anywhere /  and everywhere whenever needed. Maintaining my important files I would need in any case ( Prioritizing is so important in data maintenance also ) online is better because I don’t need to take care of the storage device – which is maintained dedicatedly by a company.  I used to be amazed with Gmail when they launched the Gigabyte storage in mailbox five years before. So I used to store my important files as mail attachments. All my contacts/ some application details etc. were stored in the form of mail attachments. Again the problem was maintaining versions/ sync up the latest one were not possible. Then I was using the online storage providers who were offering for free like – eSnips, Scribd to store some of my documents and files.

But in the last 2 years the best backup and online storage which I am using which is available for free for many – though people are not aware of it – is the SkyDrive. It is a service by Microsoft ( many Microsoft employees don’t know who’s service is SkyDrive). At present SkyDrive is part of the Windows Live Suite of offerings by Microsoft – which provides 25GB of online storage (25 GB is not a small amount of space you are getting for free).  Biggest advantage is you can just drag and drop files into SkyDrive in browser. That makes it very cool to maintain.

The even more cool feature in the Windows Live suite is the use of Windows Live Mesh Client in your PC. You can configure a maximum of 2GB of documents to be automatically synced to the cloud i.e SkyDrive. So as an when documents are edited/added/deleted in those configured folders files are made sync with the SkyDrive making the SkyDrive an online backup for your important files. This is my latest backup device I am using in the last 2 years and found it very useful and comfortable without any headache. You can give a try – Also for prioritizing files – I maintain those bulky files like photos in online photo-storage not in SkyDrive. You can use any of the photo storage providers like Flickr / Picasa. These things need not be an online sync as mostly you would not be editing the photos every time and you dont need  a continuous syncing.  Also I store my favourites ( Links ) not in my PC rather I store in the cloud – I use, a service acquired by Yahoo. I maintain about 700 favourites tagged in multiple ways and easily searchable. Also it available for public to access it so that they can also use my favourites. For storing it every time I have installed a plug-in for internet explorer. I use the same short cut (Cntl+D) for tagging and it stores the link in my online account instead of browser.

My Picks for Cloud Backups :  Documents/ General Files – SkyDrive, Photos – Flickr/Picasa, Links –

So do use any of the backup methods suggested above to save your data without losing it.