Concepts, Techniques and Storage Technologies
In an increasingly digitized business landscape, data backup is vital for the survival of an organization. You can get hacked or ransomed, and lose your data to thieves who’ll sell your trade secrets to the highest bidder. Injected malware can corrupt your hard-earned information. Disgruntled employees or other insider threats can delete your valuable digital assets. Can you recover from data loss?
Data backup is a practice that combines techniques and solutions for efficient and cost-effective backup. Your data is copied to one or more locations, at pre-determined frequencies, and at different capacities. You can set up a flexible data backup operation, using your own architecture, or make use of available Backup as a Service (BaaS) solutions, mixing them up with local storage. Today, there are plenty of corporate storage TCO solutions to help you calculate costs, avoid data loss, and prevent data breaches.
In this article:
• What Is Data Backup?
• The Importance of a Disaster Recovery Plan: Alarming Statistics
• 6 Data Backup Options
• Backup Storage Technology
What Is a Data Backup?
Data backup is the practice of copying data from a primary to a secondary location, to protect it in case of a disaster, accident or malicious action. Data is the lifeblood of modern organizations, and losing data can cause massive damage and disrupt business operations. This is why backing up your data is critical for all businesses, large and small.
What does backup data mean?
Typically backup data means all necessary data for the workloads your server is running. This can include documents, media files, configuration files, machine images, operating systems, and registry files. Essentially, any data that you want to preserve can be stored as backup data.
Data backup includes several important concepts:
- Backup solutions and tools—while it is possible to back up data manually, to ensure systems are backed up regularly and consistently, most organizations use a technology solution to back up their data.
- Backup administrator—every organization should designate an employee responsible for backups. That employee should ensure backup systems are set up correctly, test them periodically and ensure that critical data is actually backed up.
- Backup scope and schedule—an organization must decide on a backup policy, specifying which files and systems are important enough to be backed up, and how frequently data should be backed up.
- Recovery Point Objective (RPO)—RPO is the amount of data an organization is willing to lose if a disaster occurs, and is determined by the frequency of backup. If systems are backed up once per day, the RPO is 24 hours. The lower the RPO, the more data storage, compute and network resources are required to achieve frequent backups.
- Recovery Time Objective (RTO)—RTO is the time it takes for an organization to restore data or systems from backup and resume normal operations. For large data volumes and/or backups stored off-premises, copying data and restoring systems can take time, and robust technical solutions are needed to ensure a low RTO.
The Importance of a Disaster Recovery Plan: Alarming Statistics
To understand the potential impact of disasters on businesses, and the importance of having a data backup strategy as part of a complete disaster recovery plan, consider the following statistics:
- Cost of downtime—according to Gartner, the average cost of downtime to a business is $5,600 per minute.
- Survival rate—another Gartner study found only 6% of companies affected by a disaster that did not have disaster recovery in place survived and continued to operate more than two years after the disaster.
- Causes of data loss—the most common causes of data loss are hardware/system failure (31%), human error (29%) and viruses, and malware of ransomware (29%).
Data Backup Options
There are many ways to backup your file. Choosing the right option can help ensure that you are creating the best data backup plan for your needs. Below are six of the most common techniques or technologies:
Removable media backup, such as CDs, DVDs, and flash drives, has long been a popular method of data protection. This type of backup is affordable and easy to use, making it an attractive option for many users. Removable media is portable, and can be stored in a safe deposit box or off-site location, providing an extra layer of security in case of a disaster.
Drawbacks of removable media for backup include the limited storage capacity compared to other backup options. As a result, you may need to use multiple discs or drives to store larger amounts of data. Additionally, removable media can be prone to damage, such as scratches or exposure to heat and moisture, which can result in data loss. Finally, the speed of data transfer and backup can be slower compared to other methods, which could be a concern for users with large amounts of data to backup.
Removable media backup may be a suitable option for those who require a simple, affordable, and portable data backup solution. However, if you have large amounts of data to protect or require a faster backup process, you may want to consider other backup options.
Redundancy is a vital aspect of data backup, as it involves creating multiple copies of your data to ensure its safety and accessibility. By having more than one copy of your data, you can minimize the risk of data loss in case of a hardware failure, natural disaster, or other unforeseen circumstances. Redundancy can be achieved through various means, such as using multiple hard drives, employing RAID (Redundant Array of Independent Disks) technology, or utilizing cloud backup services.
RAID technology is a popular method of achieving redundancy in data storage. RAID combines multiple hard drives into a single storage unit, distributing data across the drives in various ways, depending on the RAID level used. This configuration provides increased data protection and, in some cases, improved performance. RAID levels include RAID 0, which offers increased performance but no redundancy, RAID 1, which mirrors data across two drives, and RAID 5, which distributes data and parity information across multiple drives for both performance and redundancy.
Choosing the appropriate level of redundancy for your data backup needs depends on factors such as the importance of the data, the potential impact of data loss, and your budget. Typically, a higher level of redundancy is needed for mission-critical data.
External Hard Drive
External hard drives are a popular choice for data backup due to their convenience and ease of use. These devices connect to your computer via USB or other connection types and offer a large amount of storage space for your data. External hard drives are portable, allowing you to easily move and store your data off-site for added security. They also provide a relatively fast backup process compared to other methods, such as removable media.
Despite their many benefits, external hard drives do have some drawbacks. One major concern is that they are susceptible to physical damage and theft, which could result in data loss. Additionally, external hard drives can fail, just like any other hard drive, leading to potential data loss. Finally, while external hard drives are more affordable than some other backup options, they can still be costly, especially if you require multiple drives for redundancy or large storage capacities.
External hard drives can be an excellent backup option for users who require a portable, easy-to-use, and relatively fast data backup solution. However, it’s essential to consider the potential risks associated with this method and ensure that you have adequate redundancy measures in place to protect your data.
Hardware appliances are dedicated devices designed specifically for data backup and storage. These appliances often come with built-in backup software and can support various storage types, such as hard drives, tape drives, or cloud storage. Hardware appliances can provide a comprehensive, all-in-one backup solution for businesses and may include features such as data deduplication, encryption, and automated backup scheduling.
One of the main advantages of using a hardware appliance for data backup is the convenience and ease of use they offer. Since these devices are specifically designed for backup purposes, the setup and management process can be more straightforward than other methods. Hardware appliances also often include features that can improve the efficiency and security of your backup process, such as data deduplication and encryption. Additionally, many hardware appliances support multiple backup destinations, allowing you to easily achieve redundancy and off-site storage.
The primary disadvantage of hardware appliances is their cost, as they can be quite expensive, particularly for small businesses. Additionally, hardware appliances can become outdated over time as technology advances, potentially requiring you to upgrade or replace the device to maintain optimal performance and data protection.
Hardware appliances can be an excellent data backup solution for businesses that require a comprehensive, easy-to-manage, and secure backup process. However, the cost of these devices may be prohibitive for some users, and it’s essential to consider the long-term investment and potential need for upgrades when choosing this option.
Backup software is an essential component of any data backup strategy, as it helps automate and streamline the backup process. There is a wide range of backup software available, from simple, free tools to more advanced, feature-rich offerings. Backup software can help ensure that your data is backed up efficiently and securely, allowing you to recover your data quickly and easily in case of a disaster.
Some key features to look for include:
- Automation: Good backup software should allow you to schedule backups automatically, ensuring that your data is consistently protected.
- Incremental and differential backups: These backup types only save changes made since the last backup, saving time and storage space.
- Encryption: Backup software should offer encryption options to ensure that your data is secure and protected from potential breaches.
- Compression: Some backup software includes compression options, which can help reduce the amount of storage space required for backups.
- Multiple backup destinations: Having the ability to backup to multiple locations or devices can provide added redundancy and protection.
While there are many free backup software options available, paid software often includes additional features and support that can be beneficial for businesses or those with more complex backup needs. Paid software may also offer faster data transfer speeds and more reliable backup processes.
Cloud Backup Services
Cloud backup services are a popular option for data backup, providing off-site storage and accessibility via the internet. These services store your data on remote servers, typically run by a third-party provider, allowing you to access your data from anywhere with an internet connection. Cloud backup services often include features such as encryption, redundancy, and automated backups.
One of the most significant benefits of cloud backup services is the convenience and accessibility they offer. Since your data is stored remotely, you can access it from anywhere, at any time, provided you have an internet connection. Additionally, many cloud backup services include robust security measures, such as encryption and redundancy, providing added protection for your data. Finally, cloud backup services typically offer scalable storage options, allowing you to increase or decrease your storage as needed.
One potential concern with cloud backup services is the potential for data breaches or other security issues. While many providers offer robust security measures, because these services are accessible from the Internet, there is a higher risk of misconfiguration and unauthorized access. Additionally, cloud backup services can be costly, especially for users with large amounts of data to store.
What Is a 3-2-1 Backup Strategy?
A 3-2-1 backup strategy is a method for ensuring that your data is adequately duplicated and reliably recoverable. In this strategy, three copies of your data are created on at least two different storage media and at least one copy is stored remotely:
- Three copies of data—your three copies include your original data and two duplicates. This ensures that a lost backup or corrupted media do not affect recoverability.
- Two different storage types—reduces the risk of failures related to a specific medium by using two different technologies. Common choices include internal and external hard drives, removable media, or cloud storage.
- One copy off-site—eliminates the risk associated with a single point of failure. Offsite duplicates are needed for robust disaster and data backup recovery strategies and can allow for failover during local outages.
This strategy is considered a best practice by most information security experts and government authorities. It protects against both accidents and malicious threats, such as ransomware, and ensures reliable data backup and restoration.
Server Backup: Backing Up Critical Business Systems
The easiest way to backup a server is with a server backup solution. These solutions can come in the form of software or appliances.
Server backup solutions are typically designed to help you backup server data to another local server, a cloud server, or a hybrid system. In particular, backup to hybrid systems is becoming more popular. This is because hybrid systems enable you to optimize resources, support easy multi-region duplication, and can enable faster recovery and failover.
In general, server backup solutions should include the following features:
- Support for diverse file types—should not include any file types. In particular, solutions should support documents, spreadsheets, media, and configuration files.
- Backup location—you should be able to specify backup locations. The solution should support backup to a variety of locations and media, including on and off-site resources.
- Scheduling and automation—in addition to enabling manual backups, solutions should support backup automation through scheduling. This helps ensure that you always have a recent backup and that backups are created in a consistent manner.
- Backup management—you should be able to manage the lifecycle of backups, including number stored and length of time kept. Ideally, solutions also enable easy export of backups for transfer to external resources or for use in migration.
- Partition selection—partitions are isolated segments of a storage resource and are often used to separate data within a system. Solutions should enable you to independently backup data and restore partitions.
- Data compression—to minimize the storage needed for numerous backups, solutions should compress backup data. This compression needs to be lossless and maintain the integrity of all data.
- Backup type selection—you should be able to create a variety of backup types, including full, differential, and incremental backups. Differential backups create a backup of changes since the last full backup while incremental records the changes since the last incremental backup. These types can help you reduce the size of your backups and speed backup time.
- Scaling—backup abilities should not be limited by the volume of data on your servers. Solutions should scale as your data does and support backups of any size.
Backup Storage Technology
Whichever technique you use to backup, at the end of the day, data must be stored somewhere. The storage technology used to hold your backup data is very significant:
- The more cost-effective it is, the more data it is able to store, and the faster the storage and retrieval over a network, the lower your RPO and RTO will be.
- The more reliable the storage technology, the safer your backups will be.
Below, you’ll find a review of backup storage technologies and their unique advantages.
Network Shares and NAS
You can set up centralized storage such as Network Attached Storage (NAS ), Storage Area Network (SAN), or regular hard disks mounted as a network share using Network File System (NFS) protocol. This is a convenient option for making large storage available to local devices for backup. However, it is susceptible to disasters affecting your entire data center, such as natural disasters or cyberattacks.
Modern tape technology such as Linear Tape-Open 8 (LTO-8) can store up to 9 TB of data on a single tape. You can then ship the tape to a distant location, preferably at least 100 miles away from your primary location. Tape backups have been used for decades, but their obvious downside is the extremely high RTO and RPO due to the need to physically ship the tapes to and from a backup location. They also require a tape drive and an autoloader to perform backup and recovery, and this equipment is expensive.
Cloud-Based Object Storage
When using cloud providers, you have access to a variety of storage services. Cloud providers charge a flat price per Gigabyte, but costs can start to add up for frequent access. There are multiple tools that let you backup data to S3 automatically, both from within the cloud and from on-premise machines.
Local Object Storage with Cloudian
Cloudian® HyperStore® is a massive-capacity object storage device that is fully compatible with Amazon S3. It can store up to 1.5 Petabytes in a 4U Chassis device, allowing you to store up to 18 Petabytes in a single data center rack. HyperStore comes with fully redundant power and cooling, and performance features including 1.92TB SSD drives for metadata, and 10Gb Ethernet ports for fast data transfer.
HyperStore is an on-premise data storage solution that can help you perform backups with RPO and RTO near zero, for almost any data volume.
Learn more about Cloudian® HyperStore®.
Learn More About Data Backup and Archive
Ensuring Your Data with Effective Backup Storage
NAS Backup: Supporting the Shared Environment
Using Storage Archives to Secure Data and Reduce Costs
Data Archives and Why You Need Them
Distributed Storage: What’s Inside Amazon S3?
Backup Cloud Storage: Ensuring Business Continuity
Storage Tiering: Making the Most of Your Storage Investment
Private Cloud Storage: Bringing True Cloud Storage In-House
See Our Additional Guides on Key Data Protection Topics:
We have authored in-depth guides on several other data protection topics. Also refer to the complete guide to data breaches.
Data Protection Guide
See top articles in our data protection guide:
- GDPR Data Protection
- Office 365 Data Protection. It is Essential
- Keeping Up with Data Protection Regulations
Authored by Cynet
See top articles in our endpoint security guide:
- Cloud Endpoint Protection: Protecting Your Weakest Link
- EPP Security: Prevention, Detection and Response at Your Fingertips
- Endpoint Security VPN: Securing Remote Access
Authored by Satori
- Data Classification: Compliance, Concepts, and 4 Best Practices
- Data Classification Policy: Benefits, Examples, and Techniques
- Data Classification Types: Criteria, Levels, Methods, and More
The Best Backup Software and Services for 2023
What would you do if your hard drive crashed, you accidentally deleted important files, or your laptop was lost or stolen? Or what if a fire or flood meant the end of your digital media and documents? Backing up everything you care about is one of the best ways to protect yourself against these and other types of data loss.
In previous years, we differentiated between local backup software and online backup services. The first makes a copy of your data that you store wherever you choose, such as on an external hard drive. The other encrypts your data for security and sends it to the backup company’s servers for off-site storage. Both methods have their merits, but more and more frequently, backup companies give you the option to choose. As a result, we now look at the best local backup software and online backup services in this one article.
Deeper Dive: Our Top Tested Picks
ShadowProtect SPX Desktop
Best for Disk Imaging
Why We Picked It
When it comes to backups nothing matters more than reliability, and ShadowProtect SPX Desktop is reliability incarnate. The software does one thing—make a complete image of a disk partition—and it does it extremely well. Our reviewer has depended on this software for more than 15 years without so much as a hiccup. That kind of track record is vanishingly rare.
Who It’s For
ShadowProtect SPX Desktop is for tech-savvy Windows and Linux users who want a local full-disk backup they can set up and then not think about. We recommend it for people who are at least a little bit tech savvy, as the setup can be slightly complicated, but it’s rock solid.
- The most reliable and mature image backup software for Windows
- Fast, reliable, and restores to the same or different hardware
- Boots backed-up systems as virtual machines
- One-term permanent license (subscription plans also available)
- Obscure interface for first-time users
- For Windows and Linux only
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ShadowProtect SPX Desktop Review
Why We Picked It
IDrive is by far the best bang for your buck when it comes to online backups. The affordable Personal plan gives you 5TB of storage space you can use to back up as many devices as you wish, including mobile ones. The software is reliable and simple to set up.
Who It’s For
With support for every major operating system and no limit on the number of devices you can back up, IDrive is great for anyone who has a lot of data spread across multiple devices. The low price also makes IDrive perfect for anyone who wants to back up multiple devices without breaking the bank.
- Easy setup
- Unlimited devices per account
- Free local backup
- Fully encrypted
- Fast upload speeds
- Excellent value
- Storage isn’t unlimited
- Limited Linux support
- Complete disk image backup only for Windows
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Acronis Cyber Protect Home Office
Best for Balance of Backup and Security
Why We Picked It
A veritable feast of features and options—probably more than you’ll ever use—makes Acronis Cyber Protect Home Office the most flexible backup tool on the market. It offers local backups, cloud backups, full-drive imaging, individual folder syncing, and everything in between. There’s also protection from ransomware, a vulnerability scanner, and a pretty good antivirus.
Who It’s For
Power users who know exactly how they want their backups to work and will take the time to configure them. There are clients for every major platform, though most plans only accommodate a single device. If you need to back up multiple devices, look elsewhere.
- More backup tools than any other app
- Local and cloud backup options
- Full disk image backup and restore
- Includes file syncing
- Protects against ransomware and malicious URLs
- Some cutting-edge technology may be risky to use
- Disk-cloning feature didn’t work in our tests
- Performance issues with upload speed and mobile apps
- Poor phishing and middling malware blocking results
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Acronis Cyber Protect Home Office Review
SpiderOak One Backup
Best for Privacy-Minded People
4. 0 Excellent
Why We Picked It
Backing up your data to the cloud means trusting the company not to access that data—unless you use SpiderOak One Backup. The company’s no-knowledge policy means no one at the company can access your files, which are fully encrypted before you upload them and which remain encrypted on SpiderOak’s server.
Who It’s For
SpiderOak One Backup is for privacy-conscious people who want a cloud backup that’s fully encrypted and who are willing to put up with the inconveniences that brings. You can’t ask customer service to recover the password used to encrypt your files, but that also means customer service can’t access your data. There are clients for Windows, macOS, and Linux.
- Strong privacy features
- Supports an unlimited number of computers per account
- Excellent versioning capabilities
- Includes file-sharing and folder-syncing options
- Well-designed, full-featured desktop application
- Lacks multi-factor authentication option for web logins
- No longer offers mobile apps
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SpiderOak One Backup Review
Best for Backup Novices
3. 5 Good
Why We Picked It
Backblaze can back up your entire computer to the cloud in a couple of clicks. There’s no limit to the amount of data you can upload, though each subscription only covers a single device. The company can physically mail you a hard drive with your data if online recovery would take too long.
Who It’s For
Backblaze is ideal for novice users who want a full backup of a single Windows or macOS computer without a lot of complicated options. Power users, who like to fine-tweak the way their backups perform, might find themselves frustrated.
- Unlimited storage
- Supports multi-factor authentication and private encryption keys
- Ability to back up or restore via mailed drive
- Fast upload speeds in our tests
- Single-computer licenses only
- Convoluted backup selection method
- No File Explorer or Finder integration
- Lacks folder syncing feature
- Very basic mobile apps
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Best for Single-PC Backups
3. 0 Average
Why We Picked It
Carbonite can do simple full-device backups, or you can configure it to back up your data exactly the way you want. You get some flexibility without giving up on simplicity. Licenses give you unlimited backup for a single device.
Who It’s For
Carbonite makes a compromise of sorts between power-user complexity and novice-user simplicity, meaning it’s best for novice users who nonetheless want to customize things. Anyone who wants to back up a single Windows or macOS computer to prepare for the occasional crisis will be well served.
- Unlimited online backup storage for one computer
- File Explorer integration
- Continuous backup option
- Plus and Prime plans include antivirus software
- Each computer protected incurs the full subscription price
- No real mobile app
- Private key encryption option limited to Windows
- Lacks file sharing, folder syncing, and disk imaging capabilities
- Base version doesn’t back up external drives
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Carbonite Safe Review
Best for Unlimited Storage
3. 0 Average
Why We Picked It
LiveDrive is a straightforward backup app with unlimited storage for a single Windows or macOS computer. It handles the basics of backup just fine, and the optional Briefcase feature works to sync files between devices. Confusing pricing tiers hurt its rating, however.
Who It’s For
LiveDrive is suited to everyday people who want a simple backup choice, though with a few caveats. Its price is quite high compared with similar apps, and the lack of standard encryption features is going to disappoint security and privacy enthusiasts, though it does result in faster upload speeds.
- Unlimited storage
- Effective desktop and mobile apps
- Solid versioning and sharing capabilities
- Supports two-factor authentication
- Base tier protects only a single computer
- Lacks standard backup encryption options
- No continuous backup setting or disk imaging option
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Best for Flexible Pricing
3. 0 Average
Why We Picked It
OpenDrive is a viable online backup service with flexible pricing plans. The user interface is also pretty slick, meaning you can figure out how to use it without a lot of difficulty. Limited encryption options keep it toward the bottom of this list.
Who It’s For
OpenDrive is best for anyone who wants to save documents to the cloud, as well as syncing and sharing files across multiple devices. Plus, anyone with modest storage needs could potentially save money with the flexible Custom plans.
- Reasonable pricing and unlimited storage plans
- Continuous backup option
- Useful web interface
- Permanent free account
- Only Secure Folder can be encrypted with private key
- Disjointed desktop interface
- Unintuitive restore options
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Buying Guide: The Best Backup Software and Services for 2023
Why Should You Back Up Your Computer?
All technology is subject to sudden and unexpected data loss. Glitches happen, and so do hacks, theft, and physical damage to a device. And don’t get us started on ransomware. Your business documents and your files, photos, videos, and music all deserve to be protected. Backup software and services do just that.
Both Windows and macOS have beefed up their built-in backup tools in recent years. Windows 10 and Windows 11 include a File History feature and a full disk backup feature, and macOS includes its Time Machine software. Both also offer some cloud backup, with iCloud and OneDrive, as well. These features and services are all well worth using, but they have some limitations, lacking some of the extra benefits you get from running standalone backup software.
How Does Backup Software Work?
The concept behind backup software is pretty simple: Make a copy of your files on storage separate from your main hard drive. That storage can be another drive, an external drive, a network-attached storage device (NAS), a rewritable disc, or the cloud—meaning someone else’s servers. Should you lose the local files, either through disaster or simply by deleting or overwriting them, you can just restore them from the saved copies.
For this to work, the copies of your files must be updated regularly. Most backup software lets you schedule scans of your hard drive for new and changed files daily, weekly, monthly, or continually (or at least, say, every 15 minutes). Usually, you also have the option to tell the backup service to monitor your drive for changed or new files to back up as they occur.
More granular options include whether backups are full, incremental, or differential. The first should be obvious—all the data you’ve selected for backup is copied in its entirety. Incremental backup saves system resources by only backing up changes in files from the last incremental backup, and differential backup saves all changes from the last full backup. With incremental, you need the latest full backup and all the intermediary backup data to restore a file to its original state, whereas, with differential backup, all you need is the last set of differential backup data and the first full one.
What’s a Disk Image Backup?
A step further than the simple copying of files is copying the entire hard drive, including system files, as what’s called a disk image. A disk image contains every bit of data on the drive and offers stronger protection since it enables you to recreate the whole system after a hard drive failure. Some products can even update a disk image nearly continuously. But that extra protection comes at the price of more complexity in setting up and restoring. Usually, you’ll need to run a pre-boot environment from startup media to restore a system image, since doing so from within your main OS isn’t possible.
The Pros and Cons of Cloud Backup
As mentioned, you can make local backups or online backups, sometimes called cloud backups. Online backup services securely send your data over the internet and save it on remote file servers in encrypted form. The big plus of this option is that the data is off your premises, and therefore not susceptible to local disasters. The downsides are that these services tie you to annual fees and that uploading and downloading backups is slower than loading local copies.
Don’t confuse online backup with cloud storage and file syncing, which is what Dropbox, Box, Google Drive, and OneDrive offer. Those services do store files in the cloud, but they aren’t designed to automatically protect all important documents and media files, let alone system files. Their strategy is generally to sync just one folder (and all its subfolders) to the cloud, and in some cases, offer collaborative document editing. Backup software and services do more.
Home backup users have different needs than businesses. If you need a larger-scale cloud solution for your company, check out our roundup of the best online backup services for businesses. These plans typically cover many more devices and include better administration features, but at an increased cost.
Why You Should Create a Backup Set and Schedule Uploads
Backup services vary widely in how they set up and perform backups. For example, the totally hands-free Backblaze automatically encrypts and uploads all your important files without any input. IDrive and Acronis Cyber Protect Home Office (formerly Acronis True Image) let you choose specific files you want from a file tree. Note that some services restrict you from backing up specific file types or using particular sources, such as from an external or network drive. Make sure the backup solution you choose supports all your data sources.
There are three main practices for configuring when backups should occur. The most common option is on a fixed schedule, such as once a day, week, or month. The second, which we prefer, is to upload files whenever they’re changed and saved, otherwise known as continuous backup. Services only transfer the modified part of the file in this scenario, so as not to overburden your internet connection or take up unnecessary storage. A third way is simply to upload files manually. Some users may appreciate having such a fine degree of control, but this method is only effective if you remember to run the backups regularly.
How Secure Are Online Backup Services?
Many online backup services let you encrypt your files with a private encryption key option (basically a password you choose and need if you want to decrypt your backup files). If you do choose to manage your own encryption key, know that it is your responsibility to remember it. The online backup app and company won’t be able to help you reset the password if you forget it. That may sound frightening, but it’s actually ideal from a privacy and security standpoint because it means no one—including employees at the company and law enforcement officials—except you can unlock your backups. Use a password manager to keep track of your private encryption key if you think you will forget it.
What Is Two-Factor Authentication?
Some services go beyond file encryption. Acronis, for instance, includes security features such as active ransomware protection. A few backup applications, including IDrive, Backblaze, Livedrive, and OpenDrive, support multi-factor authentication.
Can You Restore Folders and Files With Backup Software?
A backup service isn’t much use if it doesn’t make the process of restoring or recovering your data quick and simple. Backup services should offer search tools for finding files in your backup, for example. It’s also desirable to be able to replicate an entire folder-tree structure so that it can help you recover from bigger data losses.
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Keep in mind that if you buy a plan that covers just one computer, you may have to transfer the account to a new PC if you ever switch your main device or if you need to restore data from a damaged computer to a replacement.
Many services offer versioning, which saves incremental changes you make to files as recoverable snapshots of the file. It’s useful in case you need to get back information from an earlier version or if your latest file save becomes corrupted. How many versions are kept backed up and how long they’re saved varies. SpiderOak One Backup (formerly called SpiderOak One) is among the most generous in this regard and can save an unlimited number of file versions forever, but many services limit you to a set number of versions within a time limit such as 30 days.
A few backup companies offer bulk upload and restore services, sometimes also called courier services. When you need to restore your data, the company sends you an external drive with your data on it, so you can plug it into your machine and get your files back fast. IDrive, Backblaze, and Carbonite all offer courier services, but charge different rates for them.
Should You Use Web and Mobile Backup Apps?
One of the biggest advantages of having online backups is that you can access your files from anywhere. Most online backup providers let you view and download files from a web browser and mobile apps, but that should be the bare minimum. Many also include file-sharing options, the best of which even let you specify a password for access and an expiration date for the shared item.
The quality and utility of mobile apps vary widely. Some just offer simple document and media file downloads from your existing backups, but the most feature-complete options let you back up data on your mobile devices and even control backups on other systems remotely.
Those Who Back Up and Those Who Have Never Lost Data
There’s a saying that there are two kinds of people: those who back up their data and those who haven’t yet suffered a data loss. You don’t want the first time you think about backing up your data to be after a catastrophe.
For more information, read our guide on how to choose the best backup plan to determine which backup method works best for your needs. For instance, you might decide to use local backup software to protect your files on an external hard drive rather than—or in addition to—saving data in the cloud. You don’t necessarily have to choose, as several products here offer both online and local backup capabilities.
In this section, SVM refers to an SVM with the File Threat Protection component installed.
Backup storage is a specialized storage for backup copies of those files that were deleted or changed during the treatment.
File backup copy is a copy of a file from a virtual machine that is created when disinfecting or deleting this file. Backup copies of files are stored in Backup in a special format and are not dangerous.
When Kaspersky Security detects an infected file on a virtual machine, it closes the virtual machine user’s access to this file and then places a copy of it in Backup. Next, the program performs the action on the file that is specified in the protection profile of this virtual machine, for example, disinfects or deletes the file.
Sometimes disinfecting files fails to preserve their integrity. If the disinfected file contained information that became completely or partially inaccessible as a result of disinfection, you can save the backup file to the hard drive of the computer where the Kaspersky Security Center Administration Console is installed.
Backup is located on an SVM with the File Threat Protection component installed. By default, each SVM is enabled to use the backing store.
When an SVM with the File Threat Protection component is removed or updated, the copies of files placed in Backup on the SVM are automatically deleted.
The backup storage on the SVM is 1 GB. If the total size of backup copies of files in Backup exceeds this value, Kaspersky Security deletes the backup copies of files that were placed there earlier than others in order to keep the Backup storage size at 1 GB.
By default, the maximum storage period for file backups in Backup is 30 days. After this time expires, Kaspersky Security automatically deletes backup copies of files from Backup.
You can change the maximum storage period for file backups. Backup settings are specified in the policy settings.
You can work with backup copies of files stored in SVM backups in the Administration Console of Kaspersky Security Center. The Kaspersky Security Center Administration Console contains a general list of backup copies of files placed by Kaspersky Security in Backup on each SVM with the File Threat Protection component installed.
To avoid deleting backup files as a result of deleting or upgrading an SVM, you can configure NAS for SVM to be used. If the use of network storage is enabled, backup copies of files from each SVM are stored in a separate folder on the network storage. The SVM connects to the storage every 10 minutes to synchronize data. If the backups on the SVM were deleted automatically by uninstalling or updating the SVM, they will be automatically restored. If you manually delete file backups on the SVM, those copies are also deleted from the folder on the network storage. The period of storage of backup copies of files in the network storage is determined by the settings of the backup storage on the SVM.
To use the NAS, you need to create a network folder to host the NAS and an account to connect the SVM. The space required for the NAS can be estimated using the formula: (N+1) GB, where N is the number of SVMs that connect to the NAS.
You need to make sure that the space allocated for the network storage is sufficient to store the backup files. Kaspersky Security does not control the availability of free space in the network storage and does not notify you when it is impossible to place backup copies of files in the storage. It is recommended to use third-party tools to control the filling of a network folder.
You can configure the use of network storage for SVM during the installation of the application (the procedure for registering Kaspersky Security services) or using the procedure for changing the settings of Kaspersky Security.
Norton Cloud Backup for PC‡‡ helps prevent loss of photos and files due to ransomware or hard drive failures with cloud storage.
Save important files. Automatically back up your files to the cloud.
What is cloud backup?
Cloud backup‡‡ is a more secure way to store copies of your files to prevent them from being lost if your computer is stolen, damaged, or attacked by ransomware.
Cloud Backup‡‡ allows you to store secure copies of your files on a remote server (“cloud”) from a trusted provider such as Norton.
If your computer is stolen, lost, or its hard drive fails or is encrypted by ransomware, cloud backups can help prevent the files you need most from being lost.
External hard drive or network backup?
Hard drives have a limited lifespan. Online backup allows you to access files and data from any device.
What does cloud storage mean?
Cloud storage or cloud backup is a way to store data from a trusted provider that is accessed through an internet connection.
How can backup help fight ransomware?
Backing up the most important information on your computer gives you the confidence to have a backup copy of your files that you can restore when needed.
You can buy a new computer, but it’s not easy to recover the data you already have, including those that have become part of your memories.
Your computer’s hard drive has failed unexpectedly.
Unique photos have been saved to your computer: family photos from three generations, fond memories of family vacations, old college photos taken before smartphone cameras.
You backed up your favorite photos with Norton Cloud Backup. Sign in to your Norton account to download them.
Your laptop disappeared along with your business plans and client files.
Theft, loss or irreparable damage: whatever happens to your laptop, the most valuable thing is the data stored on it. A new laptop might cost a lot, but the loss of sensitive information will cost even more.
Your professional records are too valuable to risk losing. Back them up in the cloud to minimize the risk of losing your computer.
Have you considered all the risks?
There are many ways to lose information, and most of them are not random.
Hard drive failure
Your computer is just a machine, and machines fail periodically.
One click on the wrong button is all it takes to lose an important file or folder.
A flood, fire, or other natural disaster can destroy important data and memories.
A thief who sneaks into your home can not only steal your computer, but also deprive you of valuable data that is part of your life.
A cyber thief can block your data for ransom. How much are you willing to pay to get them back?
Cybercriminals can find a way to get into your computer (for example, using a remote access Trojan) and cause great damage.
What’s at stake
What are the consequences of losing information on a computer? We often do not think about how much data we store on computers or how difficult it will be to compensate for information that is important to us.
Weddings, graduations, baby first steps
Resumes, copies of completed projects and published documents
Financial documents 9 0060
Tax returns, investment portfolios, bank statements
Medical records, documents with personal data such as date of birth, mother’s maiden name or driver’s license number
Assignments and work
College documents, group projects, teaching materials
Contacts, calendar, to-do lists
Family, friends, recreation, hobbies, projects
Screenshot simulated and may differ from actual
Norton Cloud Backup
Norton™ 360 plans include Cloud Backup for PC ‡‡ to store and protect important files and documents from threats such as hard drive failure, device theft, and ransomware.
Protect against the loss of important files due to lost or stolen PC, hard drive failure or ransomware. Automatically back up photos, financial documents, and other important files on your Windows computers with Cloud Backup in Norton 360. ‡‡
Ready to back up your PC?
Frequently Asked Questions
A backup is a way to save your computer data by making a copy of it somewhere else. You can store your data backups on a physical hard drive that is not connected to your computer or device, or on cloud storage. You can start backups manually as needed, or schedule automatic backups to the cloud storage. ‡‡
Cloud storage or cloud backup is a way to store data from a trusted provider that is accessed through an internet connection. Cloud storage providers store data such as your important documents, work materials, or photos on their servers, which are managed and protected by them. The storage provider is responsible for the security and operation of the servers so that you can access your backup data at any time.
Different cloud storage providers use different methods for manually creating backups or scheduling automatic backups. ‡‡ After logging in to the cloud storage provider’s website, you will usually be provided with a step-by-step guide to select files to back up and set up automatic backup schedule and frequency. With Norton Cloud Backup ‡‡ , you can choose which files on your computer need to be backed up, sign in to your cloud backup account, and back up as often as needed. Norton Cloud Backup also lets you set up automatic backups based on your schedule. Once you start backing up your files, they will be stored in the cloud and will be available every time you sign in to your cloud storage account.
There are a number of factors to consider when choosing the right cloud backup solution. First, is the vendor a trusted security partner? Since you will be storing valuable and personal documents, you need to be sure that the storage provider will help keep your data safe. Second, how much storage space do you need? Think about what kind of backups you plan to create. Will it be all the data on your computer or just important work, financial or school documents? Third, will you need a regular automatic backup component? ‡‡ Finally, how easy are the solutions you are considering to use? You can view third-party reviews, product reviews (images or videos), and vendor instructions to see how easy it is to access cloud storage, especially if your computer is completely lost.
Ransomware allows attackers to get into your computer and block all data on it. For unlocking, they often require money, usually cryptocurrency. But sometimes, even if you make the requested payment, they do not unlock the data, but ask you to pay more.
Backing up the most important information on your computer gives you the confidence that you will have a backup copy of your files that you can restore if needed. If a cybercriminal encrypts or locks the contents of your computer so that you can no longer access it, then you will lose all data unless you have a backup. A backup gives you the ability to protect your important files if they are lost to ransomware.
It all depends on your needs and the amount of information you want to back up. View your important files to see how much space they are taking up. This will give you an idea of how much storage you need. Keep in mind that your data volumes will grow, so it’s best to have more than what you need to start with.
For many, this is a matter of preference. For many years we have used external hard drives to store important data. The only problem is that these drives can be lost, stolen or damaged just like a normal computer. Hard drives have a limited lifespan. Online backup allows you to access files and data from any device.
This will depend on the amount of data you need to save and your Internet connection speed. Many people set up backups for the night while they sleep. Norton Cloud Backup lets you set up automatic backups according to your schedule.
If you find a file that you no longer need, just delete it from your cloud storage. Remember that after deleting from the cloud storage, you may lose this file forever. Norton Cloud Backup‡‡ allows you to create different sets of backed up files and save different versions of the same file, and manage all of these files in the Norton portal, including deleting unnecessary copies.
‡‡ The device must be turned on and connected to the Internet.
The Norton and LifeLock brands are part of NortonLifeLock Inc. LifeLock identity theft protection is not available in all countries.
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