Home Backup Strategies
Home Backup Strategies to Protect Your Data
David Hardwick, Senior Nerd, OX365
13 September 2016
The most common risks to your data
- Hard disk failure
- Malware / Virus payload
- Fire, Theft, Flood
Best practice backup for home or laptop backup
A good backup strategy for your home computer should be simple, comprehensive and automatic. To achieve this your backup should consist of three components; Snapshots of your data such as those created by the Windows Shadow Copy Service, complete Local computer backup of your PC or laptop and external backup to cloud or offline hard disks.
To create a robust, and for the most part automatic home backup plan is simple as 123. After checking your shadow copies snapshots are enabled as per section 1, configure at least one option from both section 2 and 3.
Shadow Copy for Windows 7 and 10. (GUI unavailable in Windows 8)
Free | Simple Setup | Basic Protection | Automatic
For local backup and quick restore of misplaced, accidentally deleted or overwritten files the shadow copy function allows simple daily snapshots and quick restore. The feature is easy to enable and reasonably reliable, but does not give you any notification if it fails, so it is wise to check its function regularly.
To check it is enabled right click your start button and click system, then system protection on the left, select the hard drives to enable the shadow copy function on and click the turn on radio button.
To access a previously created shadow (previous version of your files) right click the folder the files reside in, click properties and then the ‘previous versions’ tab.
Backup to offline external hard disk
Free Software | Requires USB Hard drive | Allows complete system restore
This ‘system image’ is your comprehensive backup of your computer or laptop, including an entire copy of your system should you need to do a complete restore. We recommend you attempt to do this once a week, and store the hard disk separate from the PC, where it is not vulnerable to the same fire, theft or flood risks.
To create the backup you can use free software such as EASUS TODO backup, or the built in imaging tool in windows 7 and 10. To access the tool click start and type in the search ‘backup’ and select ‘backup and restore (windows 7)’.
Click ‘Set up a backup’ on the right.
Select your USB drive as the backup target, then let windows choose what to backup, and set the schedule for an evening where you will leave you backup drive connected each week.
Backup to secure store on Network attached storage
Requires Network Attached Storage drive | Allows complete system restore | With planning negates requirements for Offsite Backup
If you purchased a NAS instead of a USB hard disk you can place it elsewhere on your property in a location where it is not vulnerable to the same fire, theft and flood risks and use the same process as 2a to back up to it, turning it on at the time of the backup schedule. If you have purchased a NAS with good security functionality such as a QNAP or Synology you can use the built in software, EASUS todo, or even better Acronis home (paid for) to compartmentalize your backup by created a secure shared folder on the NAS and giving the backup software access rights to it.
Be wary of storing your backup on an online network device fully accessible from your PC, if your PC is compromised your backup could be at risk.
A capable NAS with rich software, correctly configured and stored in a secure location may negate the need for step 3: an offsite cloud backup.
Free Offsite Backup utilising File sync (google drive, one drive, OXFS)
Free for up to 15GB Offsite | Simple | Automatic | Sync not Backup
Storing your critical data in a free one drive or google docs account which synchronises as files are created is better than no offsite backup. Be aware that Synchronisation is not backup, but another copy of your data stored elsewhere. If you have configured a local weekly image backup and shadows copies this gives you a good level of redundancy, but do rely on file sync services alone to backup your data. Note the previously mentioned EASEUS can run point in time snapshots to your cloud file sync storage, enhancing the restore options of the backup, but be selective about what data you include as space is limited.
Dedicated offsite backup storage
Monthly Fee | Service provider monitoring and reporting | Fibre internet recommended
A dedicated backup platform such as Zoolz gives you a professional backup, but again be wary of the data selected to include in the backup unless you have a Fibre broadband connection with a high data allowance. If you would like your offsite backup managed for you, with critical failures monitored and assistance in rectifying backup errors you may wish to consider OXBACKUP.
1 + 2 + 3 = Backup
However you decide to structure your data backup, we recommend at least three copies of your critical data. The first is your local shadow snapshot, an image of your entire hard drive, and an offsite or secure network backup. The alternative is a completely managed offsite backup with built in real time sync and snapshots if you do not mind paying the monthly fees. A dedicated professional offsite backup package may include a local system image function, as well as consistency checks between your the local copy of the backup and offsite data. Comprehensive alerting and logging will ensure you are aware any failures, and their support service will assist with resolution.
Whether you are looking for advice on configuring your backup yourself, support in setting up your own NAS with secure PC backup or an offsite backup service provider, we can assist.
Want new articles before they get published?
Subscribe to our Awesome Newsletter.
Other recent news and blog posts your may be interested in