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We often get asked about backups, so we have written the following article, but please do bear in mind that none of us are data specialists here so we are far from experts on the topic. This is largely a collection of our own personal experiences or information we have obtained from Google.
The examples gives below are just that - examples! There are many other options available that we haven't mentioned. We would strongly recommend you do your own research and use a method you are comfortable with.
If you find a method that works particularly well for you that isn't listed, please do let us know and we may update the article with the info provided so we can share it with others ?
There are various methods or types of backups. Realistically, the methods we think most people should be using is to backup any personal files and any data that is important to you. i.e. if you would be sad to see it disappear, that should be your priority on backups. These types of backups are 'file' or 'data' backups.
The other main type we would call 'image' backups. This is basically where you take an image of the PC as it was at that exact moment in time. This type has it's own drawbacks and added complexity, so unless you know what you're doing and it's your only option, this type should be avoided in most scenario's. We will briefly cover this at the bottom of the article, but otherwise we'd assume you were doing the first.
Method: Automatic (usually)
Payment Type: Monthly or Yearly Subscriptions
UK Company – comes highly recommended by one of the directors here as he’s used their services for years. Potentially a bit more ‘technical’ than competitors but I gather they have a decent support team if you get stuck and I understand that their pricing is very competitive.
Global Company who is generally regarded as one of the ‘big boys’ in the cloud backup services industry. Probably going to be the most ‘user friendly’ solution but you are likely to pay slightly more for the service.
Payment Type: Free entry usually, but monthly or yearly subs above a certain amount of data
Google are reliable – they have to be – it would be all over the news if they weren’t. Their yearly plans aren’t too expensive but they’re not the cheapest either.
Again, reliable because of the size of the corporation. Bonus that it's integrated to Windows by default now too.
Decent option – relatively simple and their prices are pretty reasonable last I looked.
Local NAS (Network) Storage
Payment Type: High up front cost but will last longer and more control
Synology NAS Backups:
Very good solution, but high up front cost. This is my personal preference. I have ~6TB of storage setup with redundancy and it’s very secure. Whole setup probably set me back ~£600 though, but my first NAS lasted about 8 years, so my cost per year was pretty reasonable.
Has tonnes of other features as well as backups, remote access to files on your phone, etc most of which you may never use, so this might be ‘overkill’ for your scenario.
Western Digital My Cloud:
Decent solution – not as expensive as the Synology option above, but it doesn’t have quite the same features either. Assuming you wouldn’t use the extra features this might be a very good option for you to consider.
The cost is less than the Synology options but more expensive than the ‘traditional’ options below.
Local DAS (Direct Attach) Storage
Payment Type: Low up front cost
Any External HDD + Windows' built in Backup functionality
Or various other software backup tools
Not my favourite method – it’s got an increased risk of failure as these types of drives are generally less reliable than internal drives that you’re backing up. It’s by far the cheapest solution though, but offers the least protection, from a risk standpoint.
Payment Type: Low-medium up front cost
Basically you pair Image backup software (e.g. Acronis, Paragon, Macrium etc) with an external HDD or NAS and you create images of your system. It's the least efficient method for backups as it's very manual and the system is usually 'offline' whilst you do it, and you naturally capture any issues the system has software wise in the image, so restoring an image can restore faults.