The Importance Of Backing Up Your Digital Content

by Alex Raiano

Over the weekend, my wife received two emails that contained the W32.Sober@mm worm. Since I run Norton antivirus, my computer was able to catch the worm before it propagated to my wife’s contacts. So what does this have to do with backups? Well, when I got this worm it made me realize that there is a lot of precious data on my PC which is extremely vulnerable.

Prior to receiving this worm, I mainly backed up my data because I was concerned with having a hard disc failure. This past weekend made me realize that my data is also vulnerable to an attack from a virus. For example, what if I were to receive a virus that wasn’t caught by Norton? What if this same virus went ahead and removed all JPEGs or MP3s from my machine? What would I have done then?

The amount of important data that an average PC user possesses is astonishing. I currently have about 39 GB of MP3s and 16 GB of pictures on my PC. I don’t consider myself the norm however, if the "average" user has even 25% of the amount of data that I own, this would still be a lot of digital content. If I were ever to loss this data, I would feel horrible. Especially since as of four years ago, I haven’t taken a picture using traditional film. Needless to say, I’ve captured a number of great moments that I would never want to lose.

I myself perform backups to an external hard drive on a regular basis. If I were to receive a virus like I described above, I would more then likely be ok. That being said, nearly none of my friends or family members have any type of backup system in place!

Now more then ever it is important to backup your precious data. We as a culture are becoming more and more dependant on digital content. I hope that this post makes you realize that backing up your digital content is extremely important. Don’t let an incident such as a virus or hard disc failure teach you a lesson. Backup your data before it is too late!

What do you do to protect your data? Do you already have a backup procedure in place?


2005-11-29 20:59:41
Backup Opportunity
As our personal content collections increase in size, it becomes more and more likely that data corruption won't be detected until weeks, months, or years after the fact. Those 600 jpeg files scrambled by a virus or the 12000 files messed up by a PEBKAC error may not be identified as corrupted until next spring - when we go searching in the archives for a photo of Uncle Fred and his halibut tie.

Our backup strategies must provide the ability to go far back in time, with a fairly fine chronological granularity, so that we can recover from these types of errors.

The problem is that really good backup is really hard to do. I think there's an opportunity here for someone to provide a fanatically-great next-generation online backup service.

2005-11-30 02:49:29
Backup Opportunity
I agree, online backup would be nice. One of the problems with my backup strategy is that I don't keep my data off site. I'd be out of luck if I had a fire in the house or some other type of nature disaster. This is where online backup would come in handy.
2005-11-30 13:02:12
Online backups???
Try and imagine how long an initial online backup of say your 60gb iTunes collection would take over even a regular home broadband connection.

If you live in the US, you're likely to have a maximum upstream bandwidth of 386k for DSL, and if you're lucky, 256k for cable. A full backup of 60gb would take you a couple of days, if you're lucky.