Tips for your data backup

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Anyone who has already lost data will never do without a backup afterward. And if it’s only occasional. But it shouldn’t get that far in the first place. Act now!

Berlin. The holiday photos,powershell version check important office documents, or smartphone backups: On the notebook and desktop PC, all sorts of important data accumulate centrally. This is the first important reason for regularly copying at least the most important data to an external storage medium and thus backing it up.

“Data is gone faster than you think. On the one hand, the hard disk can be damaged, but the danger of malware is much greater,” says Lutz Labs of the “c’t” trade magazine. In addition, there is the risk of loss or theft, especially with notebooks.

If your data is dear to you – and it should be to everyone – you have only one chance: protection by backing it up. “There are various ways to back up your data, but by far the most important thing is to do it at all,” says Thomas Bayer from IT service provider Adesso. There are many possibilities for this.

The Backup physically separated from the computer

Bayer advises always observing a basic rule in any case: “The storage medium should always be physically separated from the computer after the backup, otherwise the door is open to malware.” The simplest way to back up data is to store it on an external hard drive.

“This is associated with manageable costs, is fast and so a hard disk can also be stored well in a safe place,” says Sven Schulz of the “Computer Bild”. A 2.5-inch hard drive with, for example, 5 terabytes of data volume costs around 100 euros and can be conveniently docked via a USB port. Here, not even an extra power connection is required.

However, a distinction must be made in the type of hard disk: The classic hard disk with magnetic storage disks (HDD) is currently the best variant, says Lutz Labs. It was a tried and tested technology and the magnetic memories held the data for a very long time.

HDD beats SSD in backup

“A hard drive with memory chips (SSD) is faster and also more robust, but there is much less experience with the durability of the data,” explains Labs. However, a classic hard drive should never be stored near strong magnets.

The other option is to back up data in the network on Internet servers (cloud). “If you don’t want to back up so much data, the cloud is also an option. However, the backup via the Internet connection usually takes longer and there is always a residual risk of data being lost,” says Sven Schulz.

If you opt for a cloud, you should also take a close look at which server location and how the respective provider secures the data. In case of doubt, you should encrypt your data yourself before uploading.

USB sticks are not an option

According to Lutz Labs, backing up to USB sticks is not an option for data backup. “A USB stick is good for temporarily backing up a file, but not a complete backup,” explains the expert. “The memory in USB sticks is often inferior, window command so the data would not really be well secured here permanently.”

There are also differences in the type and scope of a data backup. “The simplest and fastest option is to simply copy entire folders. This is the way to go if the backup is carried out without a special program,” explains Thomas Bayer. Those who use a pre-installed program for data backup or buy appropriate software, on the other hand, often have the choice between different backup options.

Backup, Image, or Recovery

“With a backup, all data of the computer is backed up, i.e. images, text documents and so on. With an image, the programs are also saved. And the user has the possibility to restore the computer from the corresponding data carrier. This is often referred to as a recovery solution,” explains Labs.

Another option is archiving, in which data is moved to another location for long-term retention. These are then also completed data or files that should no longer be changed.

Sven Schulz sees the solution that Windows operating systems inherently offer as a good entry point with weaknesses. “The big downside of Windows data backup is that the tool has to be set up relatively cumbersome.” The data backup of macOS is much less complicated. For Windows, however, there are also numerous free backup programs that offer more functions and convenience than Microsoft’s in-house solution, such as the open source tool Duplicati .

How often and how often?

The question of the frequency of a data backup cannot be answered in general. If you use your computer frequently, you should back up the data weekly, rather more often. And the question of whether a backup is sufficient is also relevant. Lutz Labs generally recommends three copies according to the backup rule 3-2-1: 3 copies on 2 data carriers, 1 of them outside the home, for example in a bank safe deposit box or at work or with relatives. While the first copy can be on the computer, copies two and three are made on external USB drives.

If you are unsure how often to back up your data, are forgetful, or if you simply want to trick the comfortable, inner pig dog, Bayer recommends setting an automatic backup system that many programs offer: “You can still back up more often, but a preset routine does not forget the backup in any case and also reminds the user, if the computer was not switched on at the default time.”

NAS backup is not for everyone

Another option for backing up data is a network drive (NAS), which can be connected to the router, for example. However, Sven Schulz from “Computer Bild” advises normal and occasional users against the solution. “Such a network drive has to be set up a bit more elaborately and should be a whole corner more expensive than a normal external hard drive at around 300 to 400 euros.” In addition, NAS systems run the risk of malware spreading over the network to other devices.

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