How The Best Data Backup Systems Fail

At this point in time, every company and individual with any sense should be practicing data backup on a regular basis, and really, most of them are. However, just having a data backup plan doesn’t mean that it’s fool proof, and a lot of companies don’t realize this, or at least don’t act on it.

Here are three of the most fool proof backup systems available…and why they may not be completely fool proof.

While there is an online data room in every backup, it does not always guarantee safety of data for which there are numerous reasons.

RAID 5 Arrays

RAID 5 arrays operate with multiple drives and a parity, ensuring that if any drive fails, it simply needs to be switched out and the whole system keeps right on going. Many companies take advantage of the massive size of RAID arrays (some have hundreds of terabytes of information) by loading programs onto all of their employees computers that regularly backup their files to a RAID 5 set up as a server, saving time and money by avoiding the need to back up individual computers manually.

The problems come when RAID arrays are set up in small rooms where the drives don’t have a lot of room for ventilation. This can cause massive electronic problems that affect multiple drives–and when multiple drives go out, data recovery isn’t quite as easy.

Other issues can arise when one drive fails and someone that doesn’t fully understand RAIDs attempts to rebuild the array. If they don’t do it right, data can be overwritten and the whole configuration can be lost.

External Hard Drives

External hard drives are a great form of data backup for home and small business computer owners, but the problem with them is that many people don’t understand exactly what data backup means. An external drive is just as likely to fail as any other hard drive, but still users store all of their data on external drives, thinking that somehow external drives are built to be more secure and free from failure.

Other users might leave an external hard drive plugged in constantly, and a power surge fries both the external and the internal hard drive of the computer. The only advantage to having two damaged drives is that one of them might cost a little less when sent off to a data recovery company (most of which charge at least $1000 per drive).

Remote Backup

One trend in the world of data backup is “remote backup,” where a user installs a program on his computer that regularly uploads his data (either all of it or just the most important files) to a remote server at a specific time in the night.

Sounds pretty foolproof, and for the most part, it is. I like this system a lot. If you don’t have the program set up correctly, though, you’ll wake up one morning to a clicking drive and realize that the only thing you’ve successfully been backing up at 4 in the morning for the last 6 months is your archived collection of Hee-Haw episodes.

As with any backup system, this can be prevented by occasionally checking the backed up files to make sure they’re working properly. It doesn’t take long and can save you a lot of problems during a real hard drive failure.

The important thing is to step back and look at your backup system and try to poke holes in it. The files on your hard drive are important, so try to imagine life without them; if that doesn’t scare you into backing up properly, you might start taking a look at whether you’ve got problems with that other memory storing device of yours.

About Oblena

Janica Oblena is the writer of ‘Midnight Secrets’. She is a graduate of Harvard University with a degree in Journalism. She is currently the senior editor of
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