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There isn’t much history, as the first celebration of the holiday was in 2011. But the need is real, now more than ever before. Especially in light of this salient fact: April Fools’ Day. March 31 is an excellent time to check your backups. On the eve of the day famous for pranks this might be your last chance.

You may have learned at the University of Hard Knocks that it’s not a question of “if” you’re going to lose your data, but “when.” Having a redundant copy of it can make all the difference, and you may be able to skip the course at U of HK on Pulling Your Hair Out.


According to

  • 30% of people never backed up
  • 113 phones are lost or stole every minute
  • 29% of disasters are caused by accident
  • 1 in 10 computers are infected with viruses each month

…and that does not even count the rise of ransomware incidences.

Now, your friendly neighborhood historian is all about redundancy, all about redundancy — and he’s happy to tell you this over and over again, many times in a repetitive fashion. But then, he used to be Product Marketing Manager for Backup in a previous role. The first thing he does when he gets a new computer is set up the backup routine.

There are essentially three ways you can protect your computer, laptop, or smartphone data — whether it’s via syncing, copying or backing up…

Removable media:

You can backup to tape (how 20th century), optical (how last millennium), thumb drive, or memory card. In any cases, while the capacity may be limited compared to other technologies, it has the advantage of being mobile. You can take it with you, or offsite against the threat of disaster.

Hard disk media:

You can backup or sync to either a local hard drive or even solid state drive (SSD) which is often faster than removable media and offers greater capacity. It can be automated via backup software or even system software like Apple’s TimeMachine. However, unless it’s a mini-drive, it’s probably permanently attached to your computer, and rarely taken offsite. So you’ve got protection, but not disaster recovery capabilities.

Cloud backup:

Cloud computing is a popular trend that I write about elsewhere, and Backup as a Service (BaaS) is an increasingly easy and effortless way to do backup. Using services like Backblaze, Mozy, Carbonite, or CrashPlan, you can send your data across the Internet to a Data Center, where your information is stored in their storage arrays. Good news: relatively inexpensive monthly or annual subscription for the service, and you don’t have to buy any hardware. Bad news: it can take days or weeks to initially backup all your data into the “cloud”, but after that only incremental changes are uploaded. But the big difference here is that your data is offsite, in case there is a disaster at your office or home.You can recover it over the Internet — which could take a long time — or some services will ship you a hard drive or DVD with your data, for an additional fee.

Which is the best? A combination of more than one of these is a Best Practice. I use all three: different media, different locations. And it’s always good to have one backup offsite.

And this article will go out through by blog, Twitter, and Facebook.

The real test though is this: have you celebrated a successful World Data Recovery Day?

Bill Petro, your friendly neighborhood historian

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