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How to Choose the Right Backup Medium

data recovery

Photo collections, client records, company financials, documents and archives — digital data these days has turned into an utterly valuable commodity. Sensitive information we store, however, is constantly vulnerable due to the fragile nature of hard drives and the unreliable nature of the internet our systems entirely depend on. It’s hence needless to say regular backups are essential for any business, and should be a primary concern.

According to an annual survey done by BackBlaze, in 2018 only 11% of respondents indicated backing up their data on a weekly basis.1 Nearly a quarter (24%) of participants reported never backing up!

Graph depicting frequency of backed up data

To reduce the likelihood of needing data recovery services (and thus to save a decent amount of funds), start with buying an external hard drive. Keep it plugged in to your computer, backing up your work as you go.

Next, make a copy of your primary hard drive that contains all programs and other important files.

Congratulations, you have already taken more initiative than a half of the population. Now, since there are so many options and various mediums to utilize, choosing a suitable storage device can be overwhelming. Just a few minutes spent on the article below  will help you to learn more about ways of protecting your data, so that you can pick the right one!


The type of a right back up medium will mainly be dictated by your budget, what is going to be protected, and how often a backup is needed to be performed. 

Magnetic Tape

Probably the oldest method of backup media still used today, magnetic tapes remain an acceptable option since they can store a fair amount of data at very little cost. It is important to keep in mind, however, that tapes are better suited for backing up or restoring an entire system in one go as they are linear storages (ad not for performing an incremental backup or storing a few files).

Flash Drive / SSDs

  • nimble, easy to use
  • great for presentations and files on-the-go
  • unreliable, easy to lose

Flash drive is the most effective physical way to backup your data: being capable of writing and reading the contains very quickly, it allows to make backups lightning fast. Yet, the small size makes it to be way too easy to lose or break (and also sufficiently reduces overall capacity). Flash drives are great for easy transferring small amounts of information, however, they shouldn’t be used for data back ups.

Clone Backup

  • large capacity (500 GB or more)
  • physical copies can easily be damaged, especially over a period of time
  • compressing or encrypt data is impossible

This method implies making a duplicate of information from a primary HDD/SSD (copying); it is similar to an external backup, but will contain all program files in the event your data is lost from a primary hard drive. Also, a duplicate of the drive is created directly to the target location which means you get a copy including the hard disk structure (i.e. the partition layout and split), so it can be used and edited immediately.

Second & External Hard Drives

  • decent capacity of storage, reliable and multifunctional
  • quite pricey
  • fragile (get damaged when falling)

Hard drives have noticeably dropped in price in recent years, which makes them to be a competitive  option. Unlike tape method that on the whole requires a backup schedule and a person to perform related operations, extra hard drives can simply be installed in a PC and to write whatever is sent to the main hard drive. In addition all the mentioned above, RAID systems provide several different backup and error-checking alternatives which can be really helpful in terms of large amounts of data being operated. 

Another good option to consider is an external hard drive. They cost a bit more than regular hard drives, but are more portable and can handle being moved from machine to machine; external drives are also much easier in use as require less technical skill to connect/disconnect.

Online Backup Services

  • affordable and easy to use
  • flexible capacity that may suit any needs
  • related to potential security issues

A perfect way of backup for lazy ones! A file syncing service with a good amount of free storage is a great option to start with when a lot of your most important information is placed on computers. A huge advantage of online services is flexibility: you can scale capacity of a storage to meet your requirements. Finally, this option is also very affordable (it doesn’t include purchasing of any hardware, and you only pay for the space in use).

In order to provide maximum security, make sure you use strong passwords and change them regularly; also, it’s important to encrypt all the crucial files before putting them in the cloud (cloud vendors usually do that themselves, but it will not be superfluous to take additional measures).


In conclusion, there is no option that could suit the needs of everyone. Variety in backups is the most effective manner to manage your data. 

Now go backup your data! And remember that you are welcome to contact us for a consultation on more technical or urgent questions.