Monday, February 6, 2012

Backup Your Personal Computer To The Cloud – A Sensible Strategy?


In today’s world, computers have become an integral part of our life. Our music, movies, pictures, and documents are all stored on our computers, where we assume they will stay for all time. But what about when the unthinkable happens; what will you do to protect your memories and personal documents become the victims of Murphy’s Law?
All kinds of things can happen that would cause a computer to lose your data. A power surge could fry the electronics, rendering the hard drive as nothing more than a brick of metal, and all your family photos would be history. Or perhaps you get a bit overzealous when cleaning your computer of junk. The terrifying reality is that no data on a computer is safe. Anything and everything can be lost in the blink of an eye. That’s where backing up your computer comes into play. The question is, how will you go about backing it up?
There are many options available to backup your computer. External hard drives, for example, are a popular option among many people. After plugging in your hard drive, it behaves like a normal, internal hard drive would, making it simple to make backups of files that you want to keep. However, these are still prone to electrical surges, magnetic fields, and physical trauma; solid state drives solve the physical trauma problem, and boast very high speeds, but are still prone to magnets and power surges, as well as quite expensive. You could also use DVDs to backup your data. This removes the electrical issues, though DVDs are prone to getting scratched, sometimes rendering the data unreadable. It also would require that you own a DVD Burner and software to burn a DVD.
So what other options are there? Well, one option is to backup your files to “the cloud.” The cloud is a term used to describe a server cluster located somewhere else in the world that you access through the internet to either store or retrieve data. The word comes from a description of how networks are diagrammed on paper; when a connection goes to the internet from a local network, that connection is drawn not to a picture of a computer, hub, or other network component, but to a picture of, wait for it, a cloud. Backing up files to the cloud is probably one of the safest things you can do to protect your data, as it sends your data off-site, isolating it from any problem you might experience at your computer’s location. Also, your data is sent to multiple servers, and multiple copies are created, ensuring that it is always available should one server go down.
On that not, however, you should make sure that the company you use to backup your data is reliable and stable, as your data will be lost if they close up shop. Also, you need to have an internet connection to restore any lost data to your computer, but that’s becoming less of a problem these days with nearly-ubiquitous broadband availability. In short, backing up your files to the cloud is definitely a sensible strategy when compared to the alternatives.