1 + 2 Backup Procedure
Most people lose their data at some moment. Notebooks get stolen, hard disks crash and
online storage goes out of business or access is gone for some other unexpected reason.
Most people think they do not have important data. But you never know how dear these
photos were to you until they are gone.
That is why backup matters. Unfortunately, many people realise this only when it is too
late. In this document, I describe a basic backup method, which keeps your data save
including extreme situations.
Hard disk crash and theft are the biggest hazards that cause data loss. Any sound backup
should protect you from a disk crash, but when protecting against theft, you need
an offsite backup. You need a backup that a burglar can not steal from you.
The offsite backup also protects your data in the rare case that your house burns
down or the computers are drowned.
This offsite backup could be an online backup, but I am an advocate of keeping your data
away from prying eyes and keep it on a physical disk somewhere.
The 1 + 2 Disks Method
You need three hard disks of identical size. Plan ahead with the size a bit.
I plan my backups with a horizon of five years or so. I really do not want to face a
situation where my data no longer fits on my three disks next year or so.
The three disks have the following functions:
* Data disk
* Red Backup Disk
* Blue Backup Disk
The data disk can be your internal hard disk in your computer. Or it can be an external disk
where you store all the important stuff. The red backup disk is your first backup. The blue
backup disk is your second backup. One of those disks is at home with your data. The second
disk will be at some other place. Like in a drawer at work, under the bed of your mother
or in the cupboard of some friend. Make sure you put a label on the disk. Since they are
identical, this really helps.
Now you will backup your data daily. Daily is important as it makes sure you automate the
task. The computer needs to run the backup automatically without you taking action.
A manual backup procedure is a backup procedure that is postponed all too often.
Once a month, you take your backup disk to the place of the second backup disk.
You swap the two disks and take the second disk home. You attach it again and have the
computer catch up with the backup. Automatically.
In my case, I swap the disks on the first Monday of any month. Please note, that I take
the disk from home to the remote site, then I swap and then I return home with a single
disk. I make sure, that the three disks are never at the same spot. That way they
can not be lost / destroyed at the same moment.
With this backup procedure, a hard disk crash will cost you a single day worth of data at
most. Your house burning down will cost you one month of data at most. That sounds like much,
but given the rarity of the event, that is acceptable loss.
Now there are more secure backup procedures and policies that make sure you never lose
a single byte. But they are more complicated and more expensive. The one outlined
above is dead simple and works for ordinary people as well.