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Tech Tips: Defeating Data Loss

Tech Tips: Defeating Data Loss Eddie Phillips

REP4 Tech Tips #2

REP4 Technologies in Selkirk, MB  is pleased to offer our monthly contribution to the New Selkirk Enterprise. Each month we will strive to offer valuable tech tips for both business and home users.

With the advent of inexpensive hardware and software solutions for both businesses and personal backup solutions are readily available, it is truly a shame to lose any data. Whether that data a business critical documents or pictures from last years trip to Disney Land, both are valuable in their own right.  Let’s briefly talk about the different strategies to protect your personal data and next month we’ll look at business solutions.

Protecting Your Personal Data

There really isn’t anything much worse than telling a customer who has  brought you their computer to fix that their data was lost. Data loss can happen for a variety of reasons: hardware failure, virus, accidental deletion, to name a few. All of them, however, lead to disappointment that can be avoided at a low cost.

Store it on  “The Cloud”

“The Cloud” is a buzz word that is roughly defined as anything that you can interact with or provides a service on the Internet. There are hundreds of “Online Backup” companies on the Internet or “in the Cloud”, some of them even offer their services for free to residential users, with some limitations, of course, but we’ll talk about that later.  There are some great things about online backups:

  1. Easy to Setup
  2. Low cost (or in some cases, free)
  3. Set and Forget, backups happen automatically
  4. Easy to restore all your files or just one or two

The service does have it’s downfalls, however; First, if you lose all your data, the restore is only as fast as your Internet download speed. Secondly, privacy; you are entrusting a company to hold your personal files. The first downfall, I can personally live with since I would easily wait for my data and not have to worry about doing manual backups in the first place. The second one, takes a bit of looking around.  Just like anything else, I highly recommend reading reviews on your online backup company of choice and choosing one with a good reputation.

A common limitation of free or low-cost online backup services is a file size limitation. If you are storing a lot of large files (i.e. backups of movies or software), most online backups will not allow you to back it up with their service. If you absolutely must have those files backed up there are some additional options. For example, purchasing an external USB hard drive and using a free program from Microsoft called SyncToy which allows you to replicate directories in two places automatically.  This doesn’t protect the backup from theft or fire but does protect you against hardware failure.

Just a quick note on financial data and important files; Never trust just one method of backup, use one of the methods above and add an additional one, for example:

  1. Copy to a USB flash drive or memory stick
  2. Burn to CD or DVD

Store this backup at your parents or a friends house to protect from theft and disaster.

Loss of data is one of the most frustrating experiences when dealing with computers.  Luckily, companies have risen to the challenge to reduce the risk and the stress when disaster strikes. There a plenty of backup solutions available, find one that fits your requirements and do it today! You will be glad you did.

Eddie Phillips is the President of REP4 Technologies Inc. in Selkirk, Manitoba. Eddie is a 15 year IT veteran using his experiences from working for companies like Microsoft, Texas Instruments and HP to grow technological awareness throughout the Interlake. For past articles, visit

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