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Why Data Backups Are So Important

Our computers, smartphones, personal digital assistants, MP3 players, operating systems, and software are tools that we use to create and manipulate the content that is the most important aspect of computing - our data. Without your personalized data, the computing experience will be mundane and very generic. We need to be able to create in order to really feel good about what we’re doing.

Many times people don’t realize how important their data is until it’s too late. I have see customers whom says, why do I need to spend $3,000 on a tape backup system just to archive, copy another instance of my data and then keep it? I’ve seen way too many people treat their hard drive’s like an all-you-can-eat buffet, and they’ll just pile anything and everything that they can find into an endless collection of files and folders that will be very difficult to make sense of in the future.

The whole point of technology should be to simplify our lives instead of complicate them, but when used in certain ways, it really is logical to ask yourself if your use of technology is actually making things more complicated than they were before. If you’re not careful, you could subject yourself to some major frustration.

Piling data onto a hard drive platter without any thought to data backup may work for an extended amount of time, but it won’t last forever. What happens when you turn your computer on only to find that your hard drive has been completely toasted? What would you do if a virus wiped out multiple directories of your important files which you have been working on the past 2 weeks with all the important customer emails and specifications and all these proposals and presentation is due for submission tomorrow?

Another potential scenario involves one of your best friends or family members accidentally (or purposely, for that matter) deleting some of your data. No matter what the circumstances surrounding the incident are, the loss can deal a painful blow to anyone who hasn’t practiced data safekeeping or doesn’t know how to resolve the situation otherwise.

If this ever happens to you, your perception of your data will change instantly. Suddenly, you find yourself needing those files that you stored away and forgot about in that random directory that is now gone. Want to look at the pictures of your last family vacation? Too bad - they’re gone, too.

Just thinking about this makes me want to backup all of my computers immediately and create multiple copies of the data while I’m at it. In fact, my CommGate servers and laptop computer contains some of my most important files, and I simply can’t afford to lose them. Oddly enough, my laptop is also the computer that is the most neglected and is therefore more open to data loss than any other. Something tells me that I need to change that!

Thankfully, companies, such as Microsoft, Red Hat, Novell and Apple, are beginning to realize how important data is to their customers, and they’re building better data protection and recovery tools directly into their operating systems, Hooray - it’s about time. Instead of having to rely on sometimes expensive third-party programs to get the job done, the operating systems that are actually handling the data in the first place are becoming more responsible with it. For example, Apple’s Time Machine promises to be a giant step forward for data backup, and information from the latest builds of Leopard shows that additional file recovery tools may be forthcoming, as well.

The information reveals that Apple’s Disk Utility now contains a File Recovery panel that includes presets for iTunes, iMovie, and iPhoto file types, and there’s also a Custom option that should help to recover files from other applications and other formats. There are some stipulations to get it to work in the best possible way, but the idea of having a tool like this rolled into the OS is very exciting.

Of course, the dangerous thing is going to be when people begin to trust these tools to the point that they no longer make manual backups themselves. No matter how advanced the tools may get, it’s still a good idea to manually drag-and-drop files to another storage device just to be safe.

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