In the world of mainframes and microchips it's called data backup or data recovery and it can mean the difference between a slight computer setback and living through your own electronic apocalypse.
Let's face it; our computers are a bigger part of life than ever before. We shop, work and play using computers. They've replaced stereos, encyclopedias, even the mailman. They've become journals, photo albums and canvases for our art.
But computers aren't perfect. Files become corrupt, motherboards malfunction, CPUs call it quits taking our precious data with them.
The best defense is data backup software. backing up data is vital for businesses; lost information can cause a major crisis or worse, lead to business failure. Individuals who don't backup computer data run the same risk. While this may not cause financial ruin, it can certainly be frustrating and even heartbreaking. So why do so few of us practice data backup?
We are busy; work, family and friends fill our days and leave us little time for boring things like computer maintenance. But today's backup software manufactures make it easy. Through scheduled backups, your system can automatically perform a backup that fits your needs at an interval you choose - without interrupting life.
Like preparing for a natural disaster, most of us understand how important data backup is, but don't know where to start. A big step is deciding how you are going to store the data you backup.
One option is Removable Backup Media, but this only narrows the field a little, You could buy a million 3.5" discs or perhaps invest in a larger-capacity external Zip drive. You could take the plunge into writeable CDs or stretch out your legs with the help of an external hard drive.
Another good data backup option is to backup to an FTP location, which allows you to backup a file, a folder or your entire hard drive to a separate location online.
You've had your computer this long and haven't had problems so far why worry about computer backup now? Data backup is about protection your data's future, but with computers, it isn't if you crash, it's when you crash.
In today's high-tech world of sneaky spyware and venomous viruses, your are in more danger of data loss than ever before. computer viruses grew by as much as 11% percent during 2003 alone.*
Like tires on your car, the electronic circuits your computer rides on will eventually wear down and blow out. When this happens, you can either grieve at your loss or simply restore your data with data backup software.
So with that said, how does one choose the right backup software? There are many varieties available - some suited to a growing business and others for growing families. Some backup software is for technical experts, other packages for the technically challenged.
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Beauprez, Jennifer, The Denver Post: Experts fear 'digital Pearl Harbor'. Mxlogic.com. (2003).