Even though I had earlier written about developing a Business Continuity Plan (BCP) for Home Office as well as Blog, I had never quite gone into details of developing a redundant backup strategy, which can save your years of hard work in case of software or hardware failure. Add to that, Harjeev yesterday commented on my blog, that he wanted to know about my backup strategy.
So in this blogpost, I would be talking about the various components of the backup system I currently have in place to back up my important documents, photographs, videos and of course, my blog.
Pen drive: This is the most basic and regular part of my backup strategy. I use a pen drive to maintain multiple copies of my essential documents and take backups daily or every few days, depending on when a document is updated/added. You can also use online services like Mozy to automatically make daily backups of your important documents in the cloud.
External hard drives: I have couple of 1TB external HDDs, which I use to maintain backup of not only my blog, websites and business documents, but also photographs and videos I shoot. I use these on a weekly rotation basis i.e. I back up my documents and websites to external drive A on week 1 and back them up on external drive B on week 2, then repeat the same to ensure multiple copies of backup exists. Of course if I have gone to a photo shoot, then I backup the photographs and videos to both my external drives, after I have finished editing and sorting them (I do not format memory cards until a backup has been made).
I do not backup my original photographs to a cloud, because it is extremely time consuming and difficult to upload or download (in case of hdd crash) hundreds of GB of data on the DSL connection I have.
Blog backup: If you are running your own blog, instead of using a third party blogging service like Blogspot or WordPress.com, then it is essential to maintain regular and multiple backups of your blog. Below are various components of my backup strategy for backing up my blogs and websites, which works in consort with my local backup policy, listed above.
Backing up blog database: Database is the most crucial aspect of a blog and it stores your blogposts, comments and various other settings. Hence it is extremely important to backup your database, whenever you publish a new blog post. You can use plugins and scripts available online to help you do that or you can use phpmyadmin or CPanel’s backup feature (if you are using CPanel) to generate a backup of your blog database.
Syncing blog files to your computer: You can use CuteFtp or similar software to sync your blog files to your computer or use your website panel’s backup option to create and download entire backup of your blog.
Remote backup: It is also a good idea to maintain multiple remote backups of your blog, since uploading backup from your own computer can take ages (in case you have a lot of data). I maintain my own backup server in Europe for regular backups of my primary server located in USA. This way in case of software, hardware, host, natural disaster or even geopolitical issues, I can have my websites up and running in a day or two. If your backup needs aren’t as extensive as mine, you can buy backup space from providers like BQ Internet for as little as US$ 5 a month.
Use secure passwords: It is also a good idea to use different passwords containing upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols for your blog’s admin area, hosting account and backup server to ensure that a hacker isn’t able to hack everything by knowing just one of your passwords. Also change your passwords on a regular basis.
Secure your computer: It is a good idea to keep your computer software updated and install a good quality internet security suit like Kaspersky and a third party malware scanner like Malwarebytes to keep your system free of virus and malwares. Because the weakest link in your backup strategy is your own computer, since it accesses all your backup locations and has the potential of not only providing a hacker with your passwords and banking details, but also infecting and corrupting your backup files.
Use a UPS/Inverter: Use a UPS/Inverter to protect your computer and external HDDs from sudden power outage, since it has the potential of corrupting your HDDs, when data is being written.
Of course this backup strategy isn’t all that extensive or redundant, as I would eventually like it to be in future. However, it fits my needs and budget at the moment and helps me maintain multiple backups of my data and provides enough flexibility for me to modify it based on my needs.
If your needs are a lot more extensive, then check out the following videos from Chase Jarvis, they provide a more in depth and expensive solution for professional photographers shooting hundreds of gigabyte of photographs and videos each month.
And remember, backup strategy is only good, if it is used on a regular basis and provides you with an easy and fast way to restore your backup files.