Backups – Part 3 of 4 – Local Backups
If you run online backups, you may tell yourself that you don’t need to run any additional backups – but in many cases, that isn’t true.
Local backups aren’t necessarily better then online backups, but there are certainly advantages that local backups provide that online backups don’t. With local backups, it’s faster and generally easier to do restorations. Local backups also allow for computer imaging. This is when a snapshot of your entire PC is taken and stored on the backup device.
Local backup advantages
Acceptable Local Backup Devices
- USB hard drives
- Internal hard drives
*most industries have adopted secure online backups as a acceptable compliant form of backup
**although I’m not too fond of tapes myself, they are a necessary evil in many cases.
Now is a good time to say that a USB FLASH DRIVE is NOT an acceptable backup device. They are far too susceptible to failure.
If you know what to backup too, you only need to know HOW to backup to that device. There a few good choices, but I’m going to highlight a few important things first:
- The point of running backups is generally not to have a snapshot of your entire system – it’s to backup your critical data, not your installation files
- If you want to backup your installation files, you will need to create an ‘image’ of your computer
- No matter what you are backing up, unless you close all of your files and do a backup during the middle of the night while not using your computer, and you don’t need to backup a database, you will need to use software that can make shadow copies of your data. This is a system that allows for backups to be performed to files that are in use.
- If you are using Exchange Server, I highly recommend an Exchange Store backup, System State backup, and a brick level backup. The exchange store covers the Exchange database as a whole, the system state is a backup of Active Directory which Exchange needs to run, and the brick level covers the individual items you would see within Outlook, including e-mails and contacts. Brick level backups are the system administrator’s best friend.
With that said, here are my favorite techniques for backing up data:
- Simple scripts. Exactly as it sounds, this is when you write a batch file to backup your important files. I only recommend this for small amounts of data.
- Symantec BackupE xec. This is one of the few solutions that makes great use of tapes and is a very powerful tool. If you are using Microsoft Exchange, this is especially powerful as it allows for brick level backups of Exchange.
- My favorite backup software though is from Acronis. Acronis allows you to create backups of the entire system as an image. If a disaster occurs, instead of rebuilding the system – just revert to n days back – before the crash. What about the files backed up in between? No problem, just pull them out of the more recent images without doing a full restore. The software is easy to manage, and even better, allows for cross-hardware restorations.
If you need help acquiring or setting up any of the above software types, Expedient Technology will be able to assist you.
Michael Curnutt, President
Need help with the above article? Looking for a geek that has turned consultant? Let Expedient Technology be your IT department. Serving the greater Everett area, we are happy to be your partner for all things tech. Contact us.