Avoiding Data Disasters

By Guy St John Tubbs
04 April 2019

My computer won’t turn on. I press the power button again and still nothing. The computer is dead.

After diagnosis it transpires that the power supply is faulty. Fairly cheap and easy to fix. The computer now turns on but I’m presented with a hard drive (HDD) failure error. It appears that whatever fried the power supply also killed the HDD. A sense of dread would normally start to sink in at this point… have I lost years’ worth of documents, music and photos, not to mention everything else that I’ve accumulated over the years?

Thankfully In this day and age there are many options to back up your important files to various cloud based providers such as Microsoft’s OneDrive, Google’s Drive, Apple’s iCloud etc, all offering an amount of storage for free. If you have too much data to store and you don’t want to buy additional storage from one of these providers, or you simply do not want to store your files in the cloud, then there are other options such as backing up to attached storage, such as a USB drive or to a network location.

Personally I entrust Google to store my photos and backup everything else to multiple drives using the 3-2-1 rule – keeping 3 copies of my important data on two different media, with 1 off site. This mitigates issues arising when a restore is required, or should the worst happen and my flat burns down!

Picture credit to Acronis

This is the approach that I take at work as the SysAdmin for Rocktime. We use Veeam to backup our virtual machines which has proved invaluable on a number of occasions. Acronis also provide excellent backup software that I have used for personal computers.

Data disasters happen, not just from physical hardware faults, but from data corruption or from online threats, such as ransomware. Ransomware encrypts your files and renders them useless unless you are willing to pay the ransom fee to have them restored. Such an attack crippled the NHS in 2017.

Are you prepared for a data disaster? Have a plan and ensure that you can recover should the worst happen.


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