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Inbound Marketing Blog

    Understanding the 4 Most Common Types of Data Backup

    Posted by Bill Faeth

    Learn how to protect your work and avoid a work failure. 

    The saying “always have a backup plan” is never more true than when it comes to your work files. Backing up computer files should be an ingrained routine in your business because the alternative could mean a loss of valuable work product, money and jobs. Especially if you are dealing in e-commerce, the potential for disaster resulting from a loss in data could be crippling for your business. 

    One of the most well known instances of near disaster due to a backup failure involves Pixar’s "Toy Story 2." In 1998, an unknown employee mistakenly entered a delete command on the drive where the movie’s files were kept, with the effect of wiping everything from the drive. Although the company regularly backed up the files, the backup system failed as well and there was no copy of the movie on Pixar’s servers.

    By dumb coincidence, the technical director had recently had a baby and so once a week was making a copy to take home on her personal computer. The company nearly lost years of work because of one employee’s error.

    The Pixar story is a perfect example of how it is not enough to have a backup plan in place — that backup plan must be well-tested and effective. So, because in 2015 not backing up files is no longer an option, you know you need a reliable backup system.

    In researching backup providers, you may discover that each one handles their backup in a slightly different way. In fact, there are more than 10 different types of backups available.

    Breaking Down 4 Common Back Up Options

    Here is a quick run through of the four most common types to help you understand your options:

    Full Backup

    With a full backup, each time a system is backed up, all of the files and folders in the system are copied. Your backup system stores an additional full copy of the data source on each scheduled backup data.

    So, if you backed up your system on the fifth day of every month, on March 5th, you would have a full backup of the data as it existed in your network on January 5, February 5 and March 5.

    Although the backup time is slower and it requires more storage space, the advantage of full backup is that restoration operations are faster and simpler.

    Incremental Backup

    For an incremental backup, the initial backup is full and then each subsequent backup stores the changes made since the last backup.

    Therefore, for a fifth of the month backup, you would have a full backup of the data as it existed on January 5, the changes made between January 5 and February 5, and then the changes made between February 5 and March 5.

    Incremental backup has a slower restore time, but a faster backup rate. It requires the least amount of storage of any backup method. This is generally the preferred method of backup and the one used by reliable providers like Mozy.

    Differential Backup

    Like incremental, with a differential backup, the first backup is full, but thereafter the system backs up all changes in data since the last full backup.

    A fifth-of-the-month schedule would mean a full back up on January 5, then a copy of the data changes between January 5 and February 5, and then changes between January 5 and March 5.

    This type of backup requires more storage space than the incremental, but also allows for a faster restore time.

    Mirror Backup

    A mirror backup is an exact copy of the source data. With a mirror, the only copy that is stored in your backup source is the data source as it existed during your last backup.

    The advantage of a mirror is that the backup does not contain old or obsolete files. The problem arises if a file is accidentally deleted on the system and then the system is backed up because the file is also lost on the mirror backup.

     

    While performing data backup could seem trivial and time-consuming to you, just imagine the alternative. Do you want to be the sole person responsible for losing hundreds of records and possibly costing your company thousands of dollars? Nope, we didn't think so.

     

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    Topics: Inbound Marketing