More importantly, WBD is supported by a handful of organizations who are using the day to make special offers and product announcements.
WBD’s timing one day before April 1 isn’t coincidental, and nobody should be made an April’s Fool if their hard drive dies or they accidentally wipe 10 years of family vacation photos. However, those behind WBD are keen to point out that aim of the day is to raise awareness about backup, and not simply remind people to do so. After all, backing up should be done every week or even every day.
Mozy has chosen WBD to announce an iPhone client for its cloud backup service, which allows users to delve into backups to fetch documents and pictures. The app should give Mozy the more immediate and accessible feel that rivals like Dropbox have. An client for Android phones is in beta testing at the moment and should be available soon.
A handful of special offers are also listed on the WBD Web site: SpiderOak is giving away 5GB of cloud storage for life (over twice as much as the usual free taster offer), while MiMedia is offering 25 percent off its backup plans. Backblaze is offering a similar 10 percent discount on its services.
There are essentially three ways to backup data when it comes to workstations: to an external hard disk (such as a network-attached storage device), to a CD/DVD/Blu-Ray disc, or using a cloud storage provider like those listed above. Elsewhere on PCWorld, I provide an introductory guide to finding a good cloud backup service for workstations.
Personally speaking, I prefer online backup. If my house is destroyed in a fire or burgled then I’ll have access to my data as soon as I can get to a computer. There’s a lot of hype about cloud security but the data is entirely safe so long as it’s properly encrypted (and all cloud backup clients I’ve seen use strong, unbreakable encryption). Even if a hacker gets hold of your data, they won’t be able to do anything with it.
In addition to encouraging us to backup, those behind WBD point out we should periodically test backups by attempting to fully restore data from them. I once created a tape backup system for a server but unfortunately it stopped recording data at some point, despite seeming to do so and reporting success each time. We only found out when a hard disk crashed and we had to run a restore, by which point it was just too late.
There have been other attempts to raise the awareness about backup in the past (for the last few years June has been designated Backup Awareness Month, for example), but World Backup Day seems to have captured people’s imaginations. I look forward to seeing more about it this time next year, when it’s more established. It already looks as if more companies would have liked to have been involved in terms of special offers or freebies to entice new users, but simply didn’t have time to get anything together.
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