Top Three Reasons Why One Backup Is Not Enough

QArea Expert by QArea Expert on November 6, 2014

Top Three Reasons Why One Backup Is Not Enough
Reading Time: 4 minutes

It’s important to have cloud storage for your files. It helps to keep important documents safe from loss. Even with the best service, there is always the risk of losing data. There are three good reasons why you need to have more than one cloud storage service provider.

Reason 1: Hard Disk Drives Fail

One thing that must always be remembered is that all equipment fails at some point and the reasons are plentyfold. Just like worrying about your computer’s hard drive crashing, chances are that the service provider’s server hard disk will eventually take a nose dive. If it is important enough that keeping the only copy on a local machine is uncomfortable, then why take the risk on someone else’s equipment.

All cloud storage providers make backups of the data that is stored with them. However, information can still be lost. It is the same as keeping it locally. Accidents happen, things get dropped, and equipment fails that is why it is necessary to have additional storage elsewhere.

By trusting a provider with the one and only copy of information, there is a risk losing precious documents or photos that are irreplaceable. Once gone, there is no hope of getting these files back. There is a better chance of recovering information if it is placed across a variety of services.

For the cost conscious consumer, files that won’t be missed if they are lost forever could be stored with only one or two copies. More important documents, however, should have multiple copies saved in different cloud service providers.

Reason 2: Companies Go Under

It is a sad truth that some cloud companies open and shut down quick. What does that mean for the data? Well it means, it’s gone.  There is no hope for recovery. It’s a frustrating annoyance but it does happen. If that is the only backup available then it is just as bad as not having a copy to begin with.

In order to protect data from the risk of being lost because a company goes out of business, store it in multiple places. The chances of all the companies going under at the same time are slim. It gives users an opportunity to copy those documents, pictures, and memories to another location to help prevent total loss.

Always research the companies before storing important information with them. If the provider is fairly new or looks like it may be having difficulty, it might not be such a good idea to place data with them in the first place. Of course, new businesses need clients to prove themselves and if you want to give a new service a try, then go for it but start out by storing non-essential documents with them as a trial.

All About the Space

Not all cloud storage providers offer the same amount of space. Some have 50GB plans, while others start at 25GB. The prices vary just as much as the account sizes. In order to not spend a fortune on storage, it might be beneficial to spread out the data among several different accounts, some of them free some of them not so free.

The practical user can score over 100GB of free storage just by having accounts with different cloud storage providers. For example, Box offers 50GB of free storage, OneDrive has 15GB, Google Drive also gives 15GB, Mega allows for 50GB, and Dropbox’s free account has 2GB. That totals 132GB storage without spending a dime.

Data can easily be spread and duplicated across the different accounts without worrying about running out of room. The services with more space can hold larger files like videos and photos, while the smaller storage can serve as a repository for documents so that you don’t lose anything.

It’s important to back up information, anyone who has used a computer more than once can understand that. Equipment breaks, it will eventually fail and eat up the documents and files that make life memorable. Having multiple storage keeps those memories and work from being lost forever.

For backups, a good rule to follow is at least three copies. If the file is something that is important such as wills, photos, records keep copies in multiple places and on different types of media. Have a couple copies in the cloud but don’t discount a physical external hard disk drive that you have at home for safe keeping. There may be files that don’t matter as much, still keep at least two copies just to be sure.

Unlimited online backups

Now, there are even some providers that offer unlimited online backup. Backblaze for example starts at 5$ per month. You can backup your entire computer’s hard drive and external hard drive for a very low monthly fee. Having an additional online backup service in conjunction with a local backup on an external hard drive is the most recommended solution because it deduplicates your data – once on-site in your home, and another one off-site with your backup provider.

A drawback of those “unlimited” solutions is that you can’t expect Dropbox like features and convenience. You won’t get file sharing or syncing features as with other cloud storage solutions. Yet, you can enjoy peace of mind knowing your data is safe and you have more than one backup in place.

Reason 3: You have to prepare for disaster

Hard drive or cloud backup failure are not the only reasons why one backup is not enough. Unfortunately, there are other catastrophic events that could destroy your data. While very unlikely, they do happen frequently to many people. That’s why you need to be prepared.

A fire can easily destroy your entire computer and local backup archive. So if you only have one backup, for example on an external hard drive, it will be destroyed with the rest of your possessions. That’s why it’s crucial to store at least one backup copy of your files offsite. That can be with an online backup provider, or simply on a hard drive at a friend’s house. There are services which support so called peer-to-peer backup.

Crashplan is one of those services and P2P backup can be enabled free of charge. Both you and your friend need to install the client. Selected files are then encrypted and sent over to your friend’s hard drive. That way off-site storage becomes possible for free. The three reasons presented are the most common reasons why people lose data. They only use one source for backup. Avoid losing files with the rule of three. Three copies of anything you care about, 2 different formats and one off-site backup and you’re prepared for disaster.

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