Three Methods of Backing up Your Crucial Work Files in 2013

    It’s the start of a brand-new year, and you’re getting ready to plunge back into a new cycle of late-night deadlines and endless projects as work starts to pick up again after the holidays. But before that happens, why not spend an hour — or less — to set up a system to back up your crucial work files?

    Indeed, personal experience gained from years of working in the IT field tells me that the “do-a-backup-whenever-I-remember” approach invariably results in out-of-date backups that prove to be of little value in a disaster. However, this problem can be circumvented by simply setting up the right tools to perform a periodic automatic data backup.

    Below are three specific methods and tools you can use to perform proper data backup for your SMB in 2013.

    Cloud Storage

    The backup method that has gained the most traction in the last couple of years would surely be cloud storage. The ubiquity of Internet access does mean that modified files can be easily uploaded from anywhere in the world.  

    The tool that I personally use for cloud storage is SugarSync, of which I am a paying user. The cloud storage service synchronizes files through the use of a lightweight client utility that does its work in the background. Aside from supporting both PCs and Macs, users are also able to access their files from a number of mobile platforms. SMBs interested in implementing and centrally managing cloud replication may want to read my review of SugarSync for Business to learn more.

    LAN Synchronization

    Small and mid-sized businesses keen on keeping up-to-date copies of their work files, but leery of the cloud, may want to consider keeping them in sync over the local area network (LAN). Attempting to perform daily dumps over the LAN may overload the networks though, making it more important than ever that only changed files are synchronized.

    On this front, FreeFileSync is a powerful folder comparison and file synchronization tool that promises highly optimized performance between different drives or network shares. Moreover, the ability to keep versions of deleted and updated files means that mistakenly deleted files or revisions can be recovered. FreeFileSync is open source and available on Windows and Linux operating systems.

    Commercial Backup Software

    Finally, SMBs that firmly believe in the value of data backups and are prepared to pay for it can choose from “traditional” data backup utilities that offer a wide range of capabilities. This may range from the ability to image an entire disk drive, perform incremental backups, as well as support for various storage media such as DVDs, USB flash drives, tape drives or NAS (network-attached storage).

    One of them is Acronis True Image 2013, which offers bare metal restores in the event of a total disk failure. Because it tracks ongoing changes to the entire file system, users can revisit any file or folder at a specific point in time. While the commercial software may appear expensive to some at $50, the alternative of having to spend thousands to recover data from a failed disk drive seems even more unpalatable.

    There are obviously many excellent applications and cloud storage services that I’ve not been able to mention in this blog. As such, feel free to chip in with recommendations in the comments section below.

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