Issuu on Google+

Data Loss Prevention for the Personal Computer User

Don’t Lose your Life! Back it up properly


Data Loss Prevention for the Personal Computer User

Data Loss Prevention for the Personal Computer User

1.

Purpose

2.

Data Loss, Not If It Will Happen, But When!

3.

Is It Really Important To Back Up Your Data?

4.

Data Loss Prevention Best Practices

5.

Automatic versus Manual 5.1. Manual Backups 5.2. Automatic Backups

6.

Modern Day Backup Methods 6.1. CDs/DVD 6.2. Flash Drives 6.3. External USB Drives 6.4. Internal Hard Drives 6.5. NAS (Network Attached Storage) 6.6. Cloud Based Backups

Issue Date: 2012

22


Data Loss Prevention for the Personal Computer User

7.

Versioned versus Cloning Backups

8.

Incremental versus Full versus Differential

9.

Archive Attributes

10. Fire Drills 11. Summary 12. Appendix

Thanks for purchasing what we hope will be an extremely informative book on Data Loss Prevention. At the end of the book are promotional codes for NitroBackup.com cloud backup service. These codes can get you over 50% off on a new sign up.

PLEASE DO NOT SHARE THESE CODES WITH OTHERS AS THEY ARE INTENDED FOR JUST FOR PURCHASERS OF THIS EBOOK.

Issue Date: 2012

22


Data Loss Prevention for the Personal Computer User

1. Purpose Data is an integral part of our lives. In the modern era data has become inseparably linked to our identity, our history, and our memories. It is comes in all kinds of forms from songs, to movies, to contacts, to emails, to pictures, to documents, etc. We are immersed in it; yet we rarely take care to make sure we don’t go without it. The universal rule is that hardware fails 100% of the time. It is not a matter of if, but when. On average hard drives fail every four to five years; devices get lost, stolen, dropped, wet, and broken with regular frequency. Regardless of the exact timing we have to accept it will happen sooner or later, but it will happen. More than that though, data is under constant threat. Things such as data corruption from errant copying, viruses, Trojan horses, and worms, device theft and/or loss, are also threats. Why do we ignore the danger? We get insurance for our cars, our boats, our homes, our possessions, our lives; however, most of us fail to take the steps to insure that our valuable data is safe and protected. This is a grave mistake. Don’t allow the uncertainty of the unknown to cause you years of regret later. It can seem too complicated to keep your data backed up given all the data backup options out there; however, don’t be intimidated there are some really great tools out there to make it very easy. As you go through the options you will see that setting your backup to be automatic so you don’t have to remember gives you the most peace of mind. Getting your data secured is simple and straight forward with the modern tools created to tackle this everyday problem. As you will see you have a variety of options, but offsite data storage is your best, easiest, and most reliable backup tool. Read through this white paper to decide for yourself.

2. Data Loss, Not If it will Happen, But When! You have heard the stories from friends, family and co-workers. How they have stored all their lives most important data on their computer or even worse they are carrying it around on their laptop. Tax returns, photographs, documents, music collections and then it happens. The hard drive starts making a funny noise, the airline loses your laptop, your car gets broken into, and it is gone. All of it. Good new though, you had the data backed up to an external drive, oh but the drive was with the laptop when it got lost or stolen. Or it’s on your flash drive in your desk drawer, but you haven’t backed up in weeks so you haven’t lost everything just the last 3 weeks Issue Date: 2012

22


Data Loss Prevention for the Personal Computer User

of data, which included your child birthday pictures and your income tax that you have to file in two days! Your hard drive never dies the day after you backed it up; your laptop never gets stolen the day after you bought it when there is nothing of value on it. It always happens at the worst possible time when you have deadlines looming and when you don’t have 20 hours to try and re-create your entire digital life. Let’s be honest, it’s not a question of if you are going to have a data loss, it’s a question of when. The odds are always against you. Every single day you run that computer the hard drive is getting older, and the drive is getting closer to death. Hard drive manufacturers actually have a term for it. They call it Mean Time between Failures (MTBF); it stands for the number of hours they expect the drive to run before it dies – at which time your data is lost forever. When you consider that computer users have reported hard drive failures a week after buying the computer and others are still running on the original drive they purchased in 2003 it is clear that you are playing Russian roulette with your data every single day.

3. Is it really important to back up your data? Here are some statistics to consider: •

6% of every single computer user will suffer a data loss in any given year. If you do the math on how many computer users there are, then about 5 million folks are going to lose some data in the next 12 months. By the way, the value of that lost data is in excess of $13 billion.

32% of all PC users at one time have lost all their files due to events beyond their control. Like theft, fire, hard drive corruption. That’s almost a third of all computer users!

30% of companies have failed to test their backup systems and when they do test them, 75% find they were not working as they expected.

60% of small businesses who have a major data loss will cease operations within 6 months.

Issue Date: 2012

22


Data Loss Prevention for the Personal Computer User

Americans have lost more than $8 billion due to data and productivity lost because of viruses.

Every week in the United States alone, 130,000+ hard drives crash

The truth is that viruses are the least of most computer user’s problems. The major cause of data loss is hardware problems. Hard drive failures and such. The second biggest risk is human error! Clearly the numbers speak for themselves. 84% of the time data is going to be lost because the hardware fails or you make an error. The error can be clicking the wrong button or deciding to leave your laptop in your car where it can be easily stolen. The bottom line is that in the majority of the cases data loss can be prevented.

4. Data Loss Prevention Best Practices Let’s talk about some best practices when it comes to making sure you have a good backup of your data. •

Don’t store your backup with your computer Sounds simple, but if you use for example a flash drive, an external USB hard drive or DVDs to backup your computer and you store the backup in your house where your computer is and your house has a fire, flood or other natural disaster then your backup gets destroyed with the computer. Or if you carry your backup around with you in your laptop bag and your laptop gets stolen, so does your backup. If you choose to use one of these methods mentioned above put your home computer backup in your desk drawer at work or in a safe deposit box. Downside of this of course is if you have a disaster and you lose a file you have to go get your backup from wherever it is stored. If you lose the data at 2am you can’t get it from the safe deposit box and you may not be able to get it from work. No one can predict when a natural disaster will come through be it earthquake, tornado, flood, wildfire, lightening, etc. Moreover, no one can know if or when they will be robbed. Each area is unique. For sure though, unpredictable events happen to all of us in any location: street, airport, home, etc. Sadly, there is one consistency between all catastrophes—they don’t leave you much time to react. If you don’t prepare or plan in advance, it will be virtually impossible at the last second to take care of everything.

Issue Date: 2012

22


Data Loss Prevention for the Personal Computer User

You need to be ready. It is critical that you keep your backup as far away from you as possible. People tend to use a safety deposit box at a local bank, but in the event of a regional disaster, they will likely be affected too. Do you have parents or kids or friends a state or two away or a couple of cities away that you can trust with your data—send them a copy? Better yet, make use of a cloud based backup solution so you don’t have to worry about this. •

Backup often When asked “How often should I backup?” the response I give most is “How much data can you afford to lose?” The responses to that question vary greatly, but most people say they can’t afford to lose any data. If that’s the case then you need to backup every single day that you create new data. Unless you have software that can automate your backup daily, this can be quite a chore.

Keep your computer out of the elements You would be surprised at how many people without thinking leave their computers in their vehicles on a hot day or on the deck in the humidity or they operate their computer in a room that is very hot, etc. Computers have temperature limits. The worst is the laptop left on inside of the laptop bag in the car during a sales call. Data loss is almost inevitable. It is important that a computer keep as heat, humidity, and water free as possible.

Keep liquids away from electronics While driving a car with the laptop on the seat the water bottle tips over. The soda can tips over and spills on the keyboard. Someone trips dumping coffee on the computer. Inevitably the unthinkable will happen. Liquid conducts electricity and will short circuit the internal electronics.

Keep the dust out You would be surprised how dirty and dusty the insides of computers can get. Dirt and dust build up will increase internal temperatures and impede the circuitry eventually leading to hardware failure. It is vital that you blow out the devices fans and open up the case if it is not a laptop and blow out the dust.

Be careful who you give access to your networked computer People make mistakes copying files, moving directories, deleting, or stealing information. It is important that you give the proper rights to others on your networked files so that you don’t lose something. This is where having multiple version full backups are important so that if someone inadvertently harms your

Issue Date: 2012

22


Data Loss Prevention for the Personal Computer User

data you can recover it. Often you don’t know that it was harmed until you need it. So if you are simply maintaining only on backup then you could be overwriting your good data with bad data.

Make sure your wireless router is secured with high level encryption There have been many reports of individuals using their neighbours’ internet to do illegal things and getting the homeowner in serious legal trouble. Moreover, failing to secure your wireless router properly can result in someone wiping your data, stealing it, or making it available for anyone in the world to see. Make sure your wireless router is secured with high level encryption and that you have good backups.

Use an Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) Lightening and power surges have harmed many a computer. Make sure yours is not one of them. If the circuit board of a hard drive is subjected to excessive voltage all of the data is lost on the drive instantly and/or it could be made unreadable. Make sure that you use an Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) on all of your important electronics – especially your computers. The advantage to using a UPS is that protects against power surge where high voltage enters the device, but another distinct advantage is that it gives you sufficient time to save your open files and shut down your operating system when the power goes out. This helps to prevent corrupted files and/or damage to some of the hardware in the device when power is cut unexpectedly.

Avoid Overclocking your Computer Some users try to take advantage of performance gains by configuring components, processors, and registry to boost the performance. More often than not you unknowingly will exceed the limits of the engineering design spec. At that point you reduce the life of the computer and/or cause it to burn up by forcing the computer to handle more load than it was designed to do and the components will overheat. Don’t risk your data and the longevity of your computer just to get a small performance boost.

Keep electrical circuits, wiring, power strips, plugs, switches, etc. properly managed You would be surprised the rats nests of cables, ancient power strips, daisy chained power strips, nicked wiring, more voltage on the circuit than it can handle, constantly tripping breakers, etc. that are out there. Don’t be one of

Issue Date: 2012

22


Data Loss Prevention for the Personal Computer User

these people. There is high risk of death from fire or electrical shock from failing to manage this. Your data of course is at risk when you fail to account for these important details. Make sure these are all of the highest quality and do not daisy chain power strips. You do not want any short circuits or burning of any kind.

Keep a close eye and ear on your computer Sometimes you can detect subtle warnings that hard drive failure is imminent. For example: Your computer will be acting up. Files might be slow to bring up or not in their proper place or directories will be odd. Also sometimes you can hear a slight ticking sound or other odd noises. Continuous blue screens from the operating system and read failure errors can indicate hard drive issues. If you are not backing up or don’t have a current back up, start backing up regularly, because it is likely that disk sector issues or complete hard drive failure is in progress. Remember 100% of hard drives fail 100% of the time. It may be a month or three years or six years, but it will fail. You have to plan for that eventuality. If you detect these signals, be grateful for the warning and take prompt action. Many times, hard drives just don’t spin up on the next reboot and you have no chance to recover your data. Or, better yet do full and incremental backups in the cloud so you don’t have to worry about this.

Must use Anti-virus and ensure it is updating its virus signatures daily There is so much malware out there. Malware is code that is specifically designed to infect your computer. Viruses, worms, Trojan horses are all variants of malware. Hundreds of viruses a day are being generated by malicious individuals and governments. They can turn your computer into a bot (remotely sending files through your machine to attack other machines). They can delete your data. They can modify your data. They can change files in your operating system so that when you reboot it crashes or does inappropriate things. They can Phish for information in your confidential files and use it for blackmail or for identity theft. There is no magic bullet for complete prevention; however, you must pick a highly recommended Antivirus software that monitors your email and all of your files to detect, block, and remove malware. Don’t ever neglect updating the program, applying patches, and daily auto downloading the virus signature files for the highest level of security. In addition to the real time scanning that the software will do, you need to get into the software and configure regular full scans of your computer drives at least once a week.

Do not move your device while it is plugged in and receiving power

Issue Date: 2012

22


Data Loss Prevention for the Personal Computer User

Small sparks hurt circuit boards. Hard drives have circuit boards. A computer has circuit boards. Always turn off your computer and unplug it when possible if you intend to move it even for small distances. There are many different connectors and ports on a computer with all kinds of devices connected with electricity flowing to them. Moving the computer without disconnecting the power can cause short circuits and electric sparks that could result in losing your data. •

If you are a novice to computers don’t try to repair or open one without help Your body conducts electricity. A simple charge from the carpet’s static electricity can travel from the floor through you to whatever you are touching. Not knowing what you are doing could inadvertently fry the circuit boards of a hard drive, motherboard, and other parts of the computer. More than that, really doing it wrong could result in you getting shocked and injured or killed. Literally your computer could start on fire because you are trying to figure out what that weird sound is coming from inside because you have not been trained.

Regularly maintain your files People get carried away with the everyday tasks of life. Cleaning up hard drive files can be as painful as doing the dishes and washing the laundry. Nonetheless, regular hard drive maintenance really is necessary. Just like cleaning your teeth and getting the oil changed in your vehicles, you must clean your hard drives. You want to keep your hard drive operating at its peak performance so it does not wear out early. As files get written to the hard drive they are written one byte at a time. These bytes are not written continuously one right after the other. They are fragmented and placed all over the hard drive as space is available. So it is good to clean up temporary files, delete unused files, delete junk files, empty the recycle bin, and defrag your hard drive. Operating systems provide a defragmentation utility that if you run it from time to time will reorganize all the bytes so they are continuous. Defragging your drive reduces disk thrashing and improves data seek times and operating system performance.

Firmware updates Be very careful with firmware updates. Improperly applied firmware updates can cause systemic damage to your hardware that is completely unrecoverable without shipping the device back to the manufacturer. Make sure the firmware applies to your device’s make and model. Make sure that it is newer than your existing firmware. Make sure that you don’t need to put a previous firmware on the chip first.

Issue Date: 2012

22


Data Loss Prevention for the Personal Computer User

If your hard disk is failing Be sure to turn off your computer and avoid turning it off and on and/or multiple resets, if your hard drive is failing. Make immediate plans to get a final backup before failure if possible. You have a very limited window to get good data after the hard drive has degraded. Multiple boots of the device are not effective and will likely result in catastrophic loss.

5. Automatic versus Manual One of the first decisions that must be made is whether you prefer automatic or manual backups or a hybrid of both.

5.1. Manual Backups Manual backups of course mean that you must remember to do the backup in the first place. Depending on the media you choose for your backup (discussed in depth below), a manual backup strategy may be overly costly, cumbersome, technical, and time consuming. Additionally, a manual backup ensures that when you have a hard drive malfunction or data corruption, you are guaranteed to have some data loss, because the backup is only as good as the last time you performed it. If you forgot this month, you could be in big trouble.

5.2. Automatic Backups For most users, especially anyone non-technical, automatic backups are highly recommended. Most especially real-time automatic backups are preferred because they are constantly monitoring your system for data changes and copying the changes as they are happening. In the event of a catastrophe, virtually all of your data is recoverable – even the baby photos you took this morning and the tax return you filed this afternoon. Even if you don’t choose a near real-time backup solution, automatic backups are preferred over manual for any frequency of time (daily, nightly, weekly, etc.). Choosing automatic versus manual then dictates what backup media options you have available to you.

6. Modern Day Backup methods As a computer owner, you have many options for backing up your computer. Let’s look at what backup methods/media options available to computer owners today. • • •

Manual Backup to CD’s or DVD Manual Backup to Flash Drives Manual or Automatic Backups to External USB Hard drives

Issue Date: 2012

22


Data Loss Prevention for the Personal Computer User

• •

Manual or Automatic Backups to Internal Hard Drives Automatic Backup to Online Cloud Backup Services.

These varied media options, automatic versus manual, as well as multiple types of software used to control the backups can make data backups seem overly complicated, but don’t be fooled by the hype. Certainly, each has their own degree of cost, complexity, and risk; however, there is only one solution that can be considered best in class. Let’s discuss each option and their pros and cons so you can make an educated decision. Additionally make sure to review the Appendix there is a simple to understand table that codes each type (red, green, and yellow) based on various factors.

6.1. CDs, DVDs (Regular and Blue-ray) We have all seen CDs and DVDs, they have a capacity of 600 Megabytes to 8 Gigabytes. The problem is the average size of a hard drive sold with a computer in 2012 is usually 150-200 Gigabytes so if you are looking to back up a computer hard drive that is just at half capacity you are talking about 75 blanks CDs or a dozen of the highest capacity DVDs to backup an average computer. Finding software to backup to multiple DVDs would be a challenge and the cost of hundreds of blank discs every month (if you are following best practices and backing up often) can get expensive and tedious to say the least. •

The Pros:  A backup is a backup and it is better than no backup, but other than that there are not many

The Cons:  It’s exceptionally slow  It’s full hands on, you have to touch, insert, label, wait for every CD or DVD to get written. A DVD will take 10-30 minutes (depending on your software and the device speed) to write to it. If you have a full hard-drive to backup like most people do, it will take you literally hours and hours of your time sitting and waiting and inserting and ejecting and labeling.  It’s tedious  With all that work, if you lose one disc or scratch a disc the entire backup is worthless  Typically only have a 5-10 year shelf life before media degradation occurs

Issue Date: 2012

22


Data Loss Prevention for the Personal Computer User

6.2. Flash Drives (USB Thumb Drives) Flash drives come in sizes ranging from 4 Gigabytes to 256 Gigabytes and range in price from $20 to $700. They are referred to many different ways: thumb drive, flash drive, memory stick, or USB drive. These types of storage devices are great in that they are solid-state devices (they don’t have any moving parts). Additionally, they are very small and highly portable and inexpensively shipped if needed to move large files. Again the challenge is that most computers come with large hard drives and a medium sized flash drive would not have the capacity of a computer even at half capacity and the larger flash drives can be more expensive than the computer itself. Like the CD/DVD solution you have to find software to use to backup to a flash drive, perhaps software that came with the computer may be adequate. You still have to manually insert the Flash drive and manually run a backup. Sadly, just because they are small and seemingly innocuous, they can prove to be a headache. There are some key things you need to do to make sure that you don’t lose your data. People making simple mistakes often corrupt data on USB drives. Don’t assume just because your USB Drive has been in your possession the whole time that it is virus free. It is as easily infected as your email and other files are. Make sure you have your virus software scan your memory stick for viruses. If you are running Windows XP or Windows Vista turn off AutoRun so you don’t risk viruses. Newer operating systems do this for you. Don’t just grab the stick from the computer, make sure it is safe to remove the device; properly eject it if required. Most important is to make sure that all of your files are done writing and that you don’t accidentally have any windows, folders, or files open that are referring to this drive because the operating system considers that to be “in use.” Don’t let it get too hot or wet. They are small and easily left behind don’t lose them. Don’t get them close to strong magnets. Don’t work on your files directly on the USB flash drive. Copy them to your main PC before you start editing. When you are done, copy them back again. Issue Date: 2012

22


Data Loss Prevention for the Personal Computer User

The Pros:  If you can afford the larger USB drives you may be able to fit your entire backup on one flash drive  Solid state backup to memory with no moving parts

The Cons:  Unless you can afford multiple larger USB drives you will have to erase the last backup before putting a new backup on the flash drive. This can be risky.  Most Flash drives have a slow write speed so you may not be able to write your backup to a flash drive in less than 3 or 4 hours if there is a lot of data to protect.  Data corruption happens often with USB drives especially with NTFS operating systems. Some USB drivers do not have adequate data corruption protection sacrificing protection for speed.  Data corruption happens when the USB drive is inadvertently ejected or pulled out during the backup. Sometimes the software indicates that the write action is complete; however, the hardware has not completed the data transfer. An unsuspecting user can corrupt the entire flash drive by pulling it out of the system while it is in use.  USB flash drives are difficult to label  Most people only have one USB drive so they are always manipulating directories and files, which risks messing up or losing stored backups.

6.3. External USB Drives External USB drives are very similar to USB hard drive keys (thumb drives) in that they plug into a USB port on your computer. They major difference is that they have significantly larger capacity at much less cost per megabyte. When you plug in your external hard drive to a plug and play computer regardless of operating system it will detect it automatically and will assign it a drive letter for identification purposes. You can configure your back software to write to it on a scheduled basis with regular frequency if you intend to leave plugged into your computer at all Issue Date: 2012

22


Data Loss Prevention for the Personal Computer User

times; however if you remove it and store it offsite or in a safe on property, then the process becomes manual. •

The Pros:  You can backup multiple copies of your data with a large drive to protect against accidental file deletion or corruption  It can be used on a scheduled automatic basis

The Cons:  The internal components of the drive are no different from the hard drive on your machine. It likewise will fail over time.  Backup software utilities are often complex and confusing  You can inadvertently lose a good backup by overwriting it with bad data  You have to be able to differentiate between the various drives on your computer and know which are internal versus which are external and backup to the proper drive  Most people typically leave them attached to their computers for automatic backups to occur; however that leaves them vulnerable to fire, theft, water, natural disaster  Because the operating considers the external drive to be part of the data storage system on the computer, any virus can easily take over and infect the files on the external drive like a regular drive.

6.4. Internal Hard Drives Secondary Internal hard drives are often used by some that are fairly technically savvy. You have open you r computer and find the power cables, data transfer cables, and the bay where it can be installed. The operating system can be configured to span the internal drivers or to operate them independently of each other. •

The Pros:  Backups are fast because they are internal within the box  If left unspanned, data is on a different hard drive which provides against hardware failure.  Fairly complex software allows you to mirror the drives.

Issue Date: 2012

22

to


Data Loss Prevention for the Personal Computer User

The Cons:  Automating backups can be complex  Mirroring drives is very complicated for most  If you lose your computer due to fire, theft, natural disaster, etc. your backup is lost with it.  Viruses can easily corrupt data on internal drives  Vast majority of laptops do not allow you to add secondary hard drives. Even if they do, they are often proprietary and costly.

6.5. NAS (Network Attached Storage) A semi-technical option for storing data is the NAS. It is designed to attach to your switch and to be a central point for data access within a network Typical setups put four drives inside of the NAS. Two drives mirror each other and then both sets of drives mirror the other set. This provides ultimate protection against data corruption because if a hard drive fails no data is lost. To ensure optimal performance, you often need to check the web based software onboard the NAS to check the drives, the RAID configurations, and to eliminate any degraded conditions if they occur. •

The Pros:  If this is your main data storage location for all data then you have significant protections over a regular computer or laptop.  You can store data from multiple people on the same device.  Hard drives on most NAS devices are hot swappable so no data will be lost on hardware failure. The Cons:  Very costly  It is not mobile  You may not have you data with you when you travel if you forget to move it over to your computer  RAID configurations on individual drives are sometimes lost and have to be recreated putting the drive in a degraded state  When individual hard drives fail, if they are not immediately replaced, the entire data set is at risk  No protection from theft, fire, natural disaster, etc.

Issue Date: 2012

22


Data Loss Prevention for the Personal Computer User

6.6. Cloud Based Backups Cloud based backups are the ultimate solution for data backups. Compared to most all other options, they provide the most protection, the simplest interface to navigate, and constant peace of mind. Solution providers such as Nitrobackup.com are the very best at taking care of your data because that is their specialty. They make sure your data is safe and protected from all threats – virus, Trojan horse, worms, corruption, hard drive failure, forgetting to backup, etc. Cloud based providers take so much of the risk out of backing up. They have redundant hardware, multiple sources of power, multiple sources of bandwidth, special contingency plans for outages, self-contained heating and cooling systems, etc. They are experts who maintain the equipment and the systems. The web interface makes it easy for you to get your data to and from them, but they can distribute the costs to all of their customers so the individual customer pays far less than they would to setup this level of backup on their own. Another big advantage to you is that as your storage needs increase meaning as you add more and more pictures, music, videos, documents, etc. to your collection of files, the service is scalable. They do not cap the top storage limit. The other great benefit to cloud based storage is that they are inexpensive and they allow you to pay as go. They don’t demand a large sum of money to get started; there is no down payment required. You simply have to sign up and tell them which files to back up and then they take over from there. To quote an over used cliché, “You simply can set it and forget it,” but not really, you do want to keep an eye on it and respond to any emails from the provider requiring action from you. Nonetheless over other backup media and options the complexity is gone and you can take care of the rest of your responsibilities in life. The backup headache fades into the background and you reduce your risk of data lost exponentially over traditional methods.

Issue Date: 2012

22


Data Loss Prevention for the Personal Computer User

The service is great. You can set the backups and know that your vital data is backed up securely, offsite, instantly available around the world from any computer, and can easily be restored if lost. •

The Pros:  Software is simple to install and use and typically takes very few minutes to get up and going.  Very reliable  Allows for multiple backups and multiple versions of your files  Offsite  Immune to data corruption and loss  Secured using bank level encryption – industry standard for government secrets.  Constantly monitors itself  Offers free email notifications if you have had your computer off too long or your backup needs attention  After the first full backup, incremental backups are relatively quick  Data is accessible worldwide from any computer.

The Cons:  For most average users, it can be a little slow to get the first full backup. This limitation is not a limitation of the cloud service, but a limitation of your Internet Service Provider (ISP). Most ISPs offer a large download speed, but they throttle the upload speeds.

7. Versioned versus Cloning Backups If you make manual backups regularly you can choose to use your media to clone (take an exact mirror image) of the data or to make a second, third, fourth, etc. copy of the data and give it a version (a date, or a number) that distinguishes it from the proceeding backups. Versioned backups are valuable if you have the storage space because it allows you to keep files and directory structures as they evolve so you can go back at any time to an altered file for which you want the previous version. Cloned backups are important to do because they are a wholesale copy of your existing data exactly as it is now. This is good to have on hand for sure; however, if you have file corruption and/or viruses you might be copying bad data over good data unless you have sufficient storage space to create version backups of your cloned images. Issue Date: 2012

22


Data Loss Prevention for the Personal Computer User

8. Incremental versus Full versus Differential Whenever you start backing up you need to get a full backup of all of your files. Once this is accomplished you need to decided how often you will need to create a version, a clone, and/or a cloned version backup of this data. A secondary method that is very common is to get the full backup and then subsequently to just perform incremental backups. This means that you are only copying the files that have changed. This saves a significant amount of time to backup because you are not copying the entire data structure, but you are capturing changes as you go. It is recommended that you do a version cloned (full) backup (keeping multiple full backups) on a periodic basis, but for minute-by-minute changes—virtually real-time—incremental backups are preferred. Differential backups will backup everything that has changed since the last full or incremental backup. However, it does not reset the archive attribute of the files. This typically means that the differential backup will be larger than the incremental backup. As an example, if you do a full backup of all your files on a Friday, but then run a differential backup on Saturday. It copies all the files changed from Friday to Saturday. If you take another differential backup on Tuesday, it copies all the files that have changed from Friday to Tuesday. So depending on the age of the original backup that the differential is relying on, the differential backup can grow to be very large in size until the next full backup is performed. The advantage of differential over incremental is that you have a major set of data your full backup and then you have several copies of the changed files. However, if you choose to just make an incremental copy after each full backup then you continuously are overwriting the files and you cannot recover corrupted or versions of files before current edits were saved. Full data backups are the very best every day, but the cost in terms of media and time to complete the storage for large data sets, makes it impractical and not worthwhile. A full backup with iterative differential backups and a constant incremental backup would likely be the best option. Many people find this too troublesome so they just maintain a one full backup and overwrite this every so often. This is risky, but better than no backup at all. The real decision on effective backup frequency should be based not on complexity because short of a cloud backup solution, most all are very complex, but on how often the data changes. Some companies choose to run daily—even hourly backups. For you, you will have to pick a comfort level with what you are willing to lose depending on how often you backup versus how often your data changes. Issue Date: 2012

22


Data Loss Prevention for the Personal Computer User

Certainly, if you have the time to monitor regular backups and money to purchase sufficient storage media, run multiple archives of full backups, especially if you are using custom software for your backup that compresses the files or indexes them uniquely. Proprietary backup solutions have some advantages, in that they can be faster and take less storage media, but that comes with inherent risk too. Many people have found that their backups were failing, but sadly, they did not discover the compression or indexing corruption until the moment that they needed them Multiple backups equal the least risk of loss.

9. Archive Attributes It may be useful for you to understand how file attributes work. Backup utilities and operating system commands use these to identify characteristics of files. One of the attributes the operating system tracks for every file is the archive attribute. PCmag.com defines the archive attribute as, “A file classification that indicates whether the file has been updated since the last backup. A bit is set in the file directory to indicate the archive status. When a file is created or saved, the bit is turned on. When it is backed up, the bit is turned off.� When you do a full backup, each file in your dataset is flagged that it was backed up by turning this bit off. Then when something gets changed it is easy to know what needs to be backed up because the archive attribute will be turned on meaning that the file was changed in some way—or it could mean that it is a file that is newly created since the last backup. Fortunately, this archive attribute works in the background without any intervention by you. Operating systems and backup software rely on this for conducting the backup. It is important to know about because you can inadvertently wipe out this attribute of the file and the other file attributes (related to security, rights, permissions, privacy, etc.) if you copy files or restore them improperly.

10. Fire Drills You need to be sure your back up works. The best option is to restore files from it as a test before you actually need them. This can be tedious and time consuming, but it is necessary to be sure that you actually have a good backup. You cannot forget about this step. Just making the backup is not sufficient. You can never know that the backup worked as desired. You have to test that when you really need them they will work for you. Plan a fire drill; pretend you lost your data and see if you can get it back. Issue Date: 2012

22


Data Loss Prevention for the Personal Computer User

11. Summary Your goal is data loss prevention. You want your data to never be lost and be part of you forever. You want data continuity into perpetuity. You want your grandchildren to see your photos and videos. All of your data is valuable and needs to have a preservation insurance plan in place to protect it forever. As you can see based on our discussion above, backups are a must. Automatic backups are preferred. Cloud based backups are without exception the best –and frankly—the only recommended solution. Take the steps to safeguard your data today. Confirm that it will always be there for you.

As a buyer of this Ebook you are entitled to a subscription to the NitroBackup.com Cloud Based backup service. To sign up for the monthly service for a rate of $1.99 per month (standard price is $3.95 per month) use PROMOCODE:

J98W224X To sign up for a year in advance (regular price $39.50) use this PROMOCODE to get an entire year for $19.50

R56K55HM3 NitroBackup allows an UNLIMITED amount of data to be backed up for the same price with no extra fees. We found this to be a superior offer to all others we compared it to.

Issue Date: 2012

22


Data Loss Prevention for the Personal Computer User

12. Appendix

Backup Methods CDs/DVDs

Flash Drive

USB Hard Drive

Can Be Automated

No

No

Maybe

Yes

Yes

Hardware Required

DVD Burner and Blank Media

Flash Drive

USB Hard Drive

NAS device plus four hard drives

No

Capacity Limits

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Keeps old file versions

No

No

Maybe

Maybe

Yes

Risk

Medium

Medium

Medium

Medium

Low

Speed

Medium

Slow

Fast

Fast

Medium

Backup Software

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Included

Manual Interventio n Required?

Yes

Yes

Maybe

Maybe

No

Cost

$

$$

$$$

$$$$

$

For More Information Visit : http://www.nitrobackup.com/

Issue Date: 2012

22

NAS

Cloud Backup


Data Loss Prevention for the Personal Computer User