Alright, you have critical files that you need to backup – now what? There are multiple methods you can use to backup your data. First, if you need to back up a file, you’re normally taking a “full” backup. Every piece of data will be copied to a new location for safety.
Normally every single person in a company puts their files on one big server, and that server stores a tremendous amount of data. Performing your first backup will always take the longest because you are taking a full inventory of all the files while the first full backup is taking place. This will take a long time and a use a lot of storage space to complete. You will also slow your network and systems down considerably.
Please be careful of when you run these backups. If you run these backups in the middle of the day its going to eat up your system usage, tie up your network resources and use too much storage space. So, to alleviate this there a few different ways you can backup data. You can run your first full backup on a Sunday or any day where there is little to no activity. Next, we can take an “incremental” backup. An incremental backup will “only” backup what’s changed since the last full backup. So, taking full backups every day is not going to be the best strategy. Usually you would take a full back up once a week during downtime or on the weekends.
Incremental backups are more flexible because you are only backing up any file changes. Most of your data that’s located on file servers or stored on your computer doesn’t change a whole lot from day-to-day. This means that taking a full backup everyday would waste a lot of time and resources. It’s a lot easier when we can just take an incremental and log the file changes.
It’s important to have a full backup and incremental strategy to make things easier in case of a disaster. If you need to restore your data, you will need a combination of full backup and each incremental backup to remain whole again.
Lastly, there is one more file backup method that’s worth pointing out and that is a differential backup. This is more of a hybrid between a full backup and incremental. Basically, you will take your full backup on a Sunday, then take a few of days of incremental backups. Finally, the differential backups get rolled together with all the incremental backups that’s been taken at that point. The differential backup can combine multiple incremental backups into one file saving storage space. Now if we ever need to restore, we can use the differential backup, plus the full backup instead of a series of incremental backups.
The main thing is to protect your files and have a plan to restore if a disaster strikes or accidental file deletion occurs.