What is Backup Software?
Backup software is a term used to describe a computer program designed to create copies of your important data and files,with the aim of being able to access the copy in the event that anything should happen to the original data. These copies can be stored on an external device, cloud storage, or a separate hard drive. Backup software is essential for protecting critical data for businesses and individuals and ensuring that the data is always available when needed; even if the device that it was originally created on gets thrown off a cliff.
Backup software protects a variety of file types, including documents, databases, photos, music, and videos. Different backup software solutions exist to protect data across a variety of primary storage locations including endpoints, servers, and even the cloud. Backup software provides an automated solution for creating, managing and restoring data from backups. While it is possible to manually create copies of data, leveraging an automated backup solution reduces the risk of human error and ensures that your data is backed up regularly. A regular backup is important because it offers protection against disaster, loss, theft or accident. Without backup, any data which is destroyed or corrupted must either be lost forever or have time allocated to recreate it.
What are the benefits of using backup software?
The core benefit of using backup software:
Is data protection. Backup software protects your data from loss, damage, and or theft. In the event of a hardware failure, natural disaster, or cyber attack, you can recover your data from the backup.
A strong backup software solutions will include the following features:
- Automated backups on a schedule: A robust backup software will automate the backup process, eliminating the need for manual backups. This saves time and ensures that your data is backed up regularly. There is nothing worse than being in a place where you need to recover a file that was made a month ago only to find out that your last manual backup occurred in 2019.
- Easy recovery: Backup software makes it easy to recover your data in the event of a disaster. You should be able to restore your data to its original location or to a different location, depending on your needs. And all within a matter of minutes of realizing you need it.
- Multiple backup locations: Murphy’s law is real. The more copies of your data exist, the less likely it is to become irreversibly destroyed. In light of this, a strong backup software will allows you to store your data in multiple locations leveraging the 3-2-1 backup rule. Examples of additional locations include, an external hard drive, cloud storage, or a separate computer.
- Customizable backups: A strong backup software allows you to backup precisely the data which is most important to you. And all of it. You know which files are important to you. There may be a specific type of file that you care about and not anything else. Backup software will allow you to choose which files to back up, how often you back them up, and where you store the backup copies.
- Security and Compliance: Your data is only as safe as the places it’s stored. Many industries are required to maintain specific regulatory or insurance compliance schema. Your backup software should be just as (if not more) secure than your primary storage to make sure that your data remains yours alone and satisfy any auditors in your life. What are the different types of backup software?
There are a few different types of backup software, each with their own drawbacks and benefits:
Full backup software creates a complete backup of your targeted data, including all files and folders. This type of backup is typically done on a regular basis, such as once a week or once a month, but can be slow and resource intensive as the entirety of the data needs to be reuploaded or re-copied each time.
Incremental backup software creates backups of only the files that have changed since the last backup. This type of backup can be done on a regularly scheduled basis, or certain applications will trigger a backup every time file changes are detected.
Image backup software (sometimes called bare-metal) creates a complete backup of the system it is tasked with backing up, including the operating system, applications, settings and data files. Image backups are stable and comprehensive, but tend to be inflexible in the event of a partial data loss and are often operating system and/or hardware configuration specific.
What features should you look for in backup software?
When selecting backup software, there are several features you should look for, including:
- Ease of use: Backup software should be easy to install and use. When discussing endpoint backup software this should be the case even for non-technical users.
- Automation: Backup software should automate the backup process, which eliminates the need for manual backups.
- Scheduling: Backup software should allow you to schedule backups at regular intervals, such as daily, weekly, or monthly.
- Customization: Backup software should allow you to customize your backups based on your needs. You should be able to choose which files to back up, how often to back them up, and where to store the backup.
- Encryption: Backup software should protect your data as well or better than it is secured on the source system. A great way to do this is to encrypt data during the backup process and to store the data in an encrypted format so that even if someone other than you gains access to the storage, the data is useless without the encryption key.
- Compression: Backup software should compress data during the backup process, which helps to reduce the amount of time it takes to perform a backup and (if you’re storing your own backup data) the amount of storage space required.
- Restoration options: Backup software should provide multiple options for restoring your data, including restoring to its original location or a different location under your control.
- Reporting: Backup software needs to tell you how it’s doing and if things are broken. Namely, it must provide reports on backup status and performance, which helps to ensure that backups are running as expected and can be used to identify any issues that need to be addressed.
Backup software is an essential tool for any individual or organization that values their data and wants to protect it from loss or corruption. With a wide range of features and options available, the right backup software can provide peace of mind knowing that critical data is always protected and can be restored quickly in case of a disaster. Investing in backup software is a wise decision that can prevent potential headaches and financial losses in the future. If you’d like to learn how CrashPlan can help you solve your backup needs, you can learn more or start a free trial here.