A-Z of Computing – B is for Backup


After A, it’s no surprise that we’ve arrived at B – for backup. This is probably one of the easiest things you can do to safeguard your data, but if I had a pound for every time someone told me (after their PC failed) that they didn’t have a backup – well, I wouldn’t be writing these articles!

Your backup is like house insurance – could you afford to replace everything if it all disappeared in a house fire/IT disaster? You could replace your software, but what about those client files or photos of your children?

GMT Solutions: B is for BackupFor a home user, manually copying your files to a USB stick, external hard drive, or a free online storage service such as Dropbox or Google Drive should be sufficient. Alternatively, you can get Windows to back up for you automatically. Click the Start menu, then Settings > Update & security > Backup > Add a drive. You then tell your PC where to back up to – to change what gets backed up and how often, go to More options. If your USB drive isn’t plugged in all the time, it will back up next time you plug it in.

For a business user, I’d recommend something more robust. Online backup services differ from simple storage services, in that they install software on your PC, which automatically backs up your data to their servers (which have built in redundancy so your data is safe even if a server fails). You will probably need to pay for this service – but imagine what it would cost you in terms of business if you were to lose your data.

Online backup services differ in terms of how much storage is offered, how many PCs are covered and what the prices are – it’s worth comparing a few such as iDrive (not an Apple product!), BackBlaze, Crash Plan, Acronis etc and seeing if they do a free trial of the service. Services can start from £30 for a year, which is less than £3 a month.

If you have a larger amount of data, you may want to look at an on site storage server. We’ve got one here at GMT Towers, which is accessible from both our locations in Newent and Bucks, and has built in redundancy with a RAID array (multiple hard drives, in English). This was a little trickier to set up, but is a one off cost for the server case and hard drives – after that, all it requires is a working internet connection. You may then want to add backup software, to backup automatically, or you could use the server as your primary storage and rely on the RAID array for backup. This solution starts at about £250 for the server case, plus the cost of hard drives and possibly an IT pro to set it up, depending on how confident you are! For larger businesses, we’d recommend different servers and larger capacity hard drives.

If you would like a free chat about backup, or have queries on anything else IT related, please contact
us on [email protected]