One of the most important security measures is backups. They protect us from hardware failures, various types of malware and loss of devices. Because this can happen to computers, tablets, phones and servers, all devices need to have a backup system in place.
What do we need from backups?
- They need to be automatic so it doesn't rely on comrades remembering to press backup buttons
- They should back up all files that we can't do without, whether that be email, documents, photos or videos
- Ideally, one backup should be kept in a different location, in case of fire, flooding, burglary and so on
There are basically two different ways of backup up: the cloud and local devices. The two can be combined easily.
Backups to the cloud
The most popular way of backing up at the moment is to back things up to the “cloud”. That is, backing up to an online service, like Microsoft, Google, Amazon, Dropbox.
The advantages of this method:
- No up-front costs
- Mostly easy to set up
- Off-site backup, in multiple copies
The disadvantages of this method:
- High monthly or annual costs
- Data is under the control of a big corporation, who control access to data (can be mitigated by encrypting files in advance)
- Service provider can cancel account and delete data with no notice
- High bandwidth usage to upload files
- Individual comrades
- Small centres or where there is a lack of necessary technological expertise
Local or own cloud backups
For those that want to control access to their data, or avoid high monthly costs, purchasing backup devices and hard drives is the prefered option.
Advantages of this method:
- Low monthly costs
- Control of own data
- Less need for internet connection bandwidth
- Possible integration with other services
Disadvantages of this method:
- High up-front costs
- More complicated to set up
- Tech-savy comrades
- Large centres with many full-timers
Examples of solutions
- Custom build but highly flexible Network Attached Storage (NAS) like QNAP or Synology (more expensive, but easier)
- Own server (cheaper but more difficult to manage)
- Portable hard drive (not recommended)
Ideally, one server/NAS should be set up in the office, and another in a different location. The second location can be anywhere with a high bandwidth internet connection.
What to backup?
The most obvious thing to backup is files that are not already on an online service:
The less obvious things to backup is online service:
- Gmail, Outlook, Hotmail, YahooMail etc
- Youtube, Flickr etc
These are are necessary to backup in case the accounts get closed down by the provider.