Backup Strategy

Once damage is done to files on your computer (no matter what the cause) it’s often too late. A comprehensive backup strategy is a vital component in your computer security arsenal (and don’t forget to test the restore routines!).

Too many people wait for a problem to happen or a virus to attack their PC before they take any action. Once a virus reveals its presence on your PC, it may be too late to recover damaged files. There are many viruses whose damage cannot be successfully removed due to the way the virus infects a program or mangles data. It’s absolutely vital to have protection before the virus strikes. If you wait until you notice that your hard disk is losing data, you may already have hundreds of damaged files.

And, don’t forget problems caused by hardware or software glitches. A good backup is excellent protection against those unscheduled events as well.

It’s essential to carefully protect all your software and regularly back up the data on all your disks. Do you have a single disk that you can afford not to regularly backup? It’s rare to find any PC that does not have some type of important data stored on it (why would you store it if you at least didn’t feel it was important at the time?).

Suggested Policy

  • All original software (program) diskettes should immediately be write-protected, copied and stored in two secure, separate locations after installation. If you are using an integrity check program, immediately record (initialize) the integrity data for the new programs after installing. (Store CD-ROMs in a fire-secure location since you only have one copy of them.) Downloads should likewise be stored in multiple locations and on different media.
  • Determine a schedule for full backups by considering how frequently your data changes. It is an excellent idea to have three full sets of backup media and to store one set at another location to protect against fire, theft, or some other disaster. If your data is critical, you may wish to have a separate cycle of backups (e.g., quarterly or yearly) that can be used to recover when someone damages (or deletes) a vital file, but the deletion isn’t discovered until months later.
  • The full backups should be coordinated with periodic incremental backups. The incremental backup, which copies just the files that have changed, normally runs very quickly and takes just a minute or so. Many people find that an incremental backup run at the end of each day works quite well. This way their data is protected should anything happen overnight. One rule of thumb for incremental backups is to do them when it would become difficult or not cost effective to re-enter the data.
  • Make sure you use reliable backup hardware and software. Periodically test by restoring from a backup. Too many people have discovered that their backup program couldn’t recover their files when it was too late. If you use an integrity check program you can verify that the restored files are correct. If you cannot afford to play with your operational system, test your restore on a different system. This will also tell you if you will be able to restore to a new system should the current one have to be replaced.
  • Be certain you store the recovery program for your backups with your backups. Some people have regularly backed up their data only to find the only version of the recovery program was on their backups and not available to actually run.

When you store your backup use great caution where you store it. Pick a place that will be safe as a physical location. Plan ahead for flood, for example. Don’t store your backups in the basement if your business is next to a river! Plan ahead for fire; and if the location is protected by sprinklers what will the water do to the backups? What about physical access? How far away should it be to avoid the primary disaster at the secondary site? And, so on.


  • Plan for problems before they happen by having a good (and current) backup.
  • Develop a backup strategy based on how much work you are willing to do to reenter information.
  • Keep at least one backup copy off-site.
  • Test your ability to restore from your backup before you have to and be certain to store the recovery program with the back.

That basically is the end of the tutorial. Thank you for reading to this point. But, that’s only the start of virus information. See the next page for sources of on-going virus information.

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Comments from original:

Said this on 2010-04-25 At 04:17 am
How OUHK can use this informatoin as teaching materials, but request eight thousand dollars for course fee???
Said this on 2010-04-25 At 08:05 pm
In reply to #1
Open University of Hong Kong (if that’s what OUHK means in your comment) has no permission to use the CKnow materials; in particular they have NO permission to charge for their use. If they are doing so they in violation of the CKnow license and international copyright law. If you can prove they are using CKnow material in a course they charge for please use the Contact Us link above and provide specific information of that proof so I can contact them and settle the matter. Thank you.
Handy Backup
Said this on 2010-08-03 At 09:54 pm
Thanks for good ideas, DaBoss.

I think, advice #4 about both regular restoring data and testing backup software is the best one. I believe it correct, that the software, especially if it’s free, may work the bad way. But as for Handy Backup – it won’t fail and will help everyone to keep their data safe.

[Lots of commercial backup programs “won’t fail” so consider whichever one you want and not necessarily the one in the comment ad. –DaBoss]
Said this on 2010-11-22 At 10:07 am
I learned my lesson either business data or personal files needs to be backed up online. That’s why a service like ZenOK Online Backup is so important. They’ve saved my business data from total loss a bunch of times. I just add important files I know needs to be safed.

[Or any number of other such services. I use Carbonite. –DaBoss]