What happens to your carefully backed up data if your house burns down?
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This is Leo Notenboom with news, commentary and answers to some of
the many questions I get at askleo.info.
In a recent podcast entitled “Are you ready for your computer to be
stolen” I discussed the needs for not only backing up, but encrypting
your sensitive data. Losing it is one thing, but having sensitive
personal data in the hands of thief is just as scary if not more
So by now you’re all backing up regularly, and keeping those backups
in a safe place, right?
A safe place … in your house? In the same structure as your
So what happens to all those backups and those computers should your
house burn to the ground? Or a flood damage everything? Or a mudslide
bury it in goo?
Backing up isn’t enough. You need to store copies of your backups
off-site. Somewhere physically different than your business or
computer’s location. That way if the worst happens you still have your
data safely backed up.
It doesn’t have to be hard. Every so often, burn an extra backup CD
and give it to a friend or family member.
My wife operates a retail business where I also maintain the
computer equipment. So some time back I purchased two identical 250
gigabyte Maxtor external USB/firewire drives. The computers here at Ask
Leo central (my home), and at my wife’s business each have one. Each
night data is backed up to those drives. Then every so often I swap the
drives. That way not only is my home data backed up off-site, at the
store, but the store’s data is also backed up off-site … here at
Whatever your solution, I strongly recommend considering your
disaster plan. Especially if your business depends on it.
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2 comments on “Are you ready for your house to burn down?”
I agree this needs to be done and already have a process to achieve it. I note that you recommend Acronis. Personally I find it difficult to understand and instead use Ghost 14.
The most important point to me is that for disaster recovery backups you should NOT be reliant on products using propietary file systems (e.g Ghost, Acronis). I use GFI backup (there are several others) as it saves files in their native format. In the unlikely event you have to restore them, you only have to copy them via Windows Explorer.
If you are already in deep trouble there is no point in compounding things by having to install (and possibly buy) software to decode essential stored data.
I have no idea how this could have happened but it did. I had 2 external hard drives. I go south in the winter and have a desktop at each location. Last April, when I got back north, neither external drive could be read. I figured I’m only missing 6 months data and I’ll get it back when I go south in the fall. Got down here in October and my desktop hard drive is fried. I don’t know whether to scream or cry or what. So, now I’m going to use an external drive and dvds, put most important files on a thumb drive and the top 2 gigs on a free online storage. I don’t know what else I can do…..