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ICT Department Homepage5.1.3 Backing up Data

Revision points:
Candidates should be able to:
  • define the term backup and describe the need for taking backups

The risks to data:

The data stored in a computer can often be far more valuable than the actual computer equipment. Losing such data could put a company out of business.

Examples of valuable data are:

  • a companyís financial records;
  • customersí details;
  • records of company stocks and shares;
  • data collected from experiments or research. 

Reducing the risks of data loss:

Making a backup of data:

  • A backup of a file is a copy that can be used if the original file/data is damaged or deleted.
  • Making a backup should be a regular occurrence and ideally the backup data should be on removable media so that it can be securely stored well away from the original data.
  • Examples:
    • Individuals:
      • A typical USB pen drive as used by KLB pupils to backup filesFor pupils working on a stand-alone computer, simply making a backup copy of their files on the hard disk will reduce the risk of losing data.
      • They could also save a backup copy to a floppy disk if the file was small enough or store larger volumes on USB pen-drive or a CD-ROM using a CD writer.
      • Pupils can also email a copy of a file to themselves as an attachment so it is backed up on the email server.
      • Pupils have full permissions for files and folders in their own user area and the 'all users' shared area.  In other shared areas they only have Read Access and they have no access to staff shared areas.  Staff have full permissions in all the shared areas.
    • Schools:
      • A back-up of the whole KLB school system is carried out automatically every weekday night so the most that can be lost is one dayís work.
      • Special tape drives save the data onto magnetic tape cassettes capable of holding over 80 GB of data. This is enough capacity to allow all the data on the serverís hard drives to be backed up.
      • A number of tapes are used in rotation and previous back-up copy is taken away from the school premises each night in case of a disaster such as a fire. Tapes kept on-site should be stored in a fireproof safe.
    • Businesses:
      • Larger companies may have several sites with secure Internet links between them. Each site can be used to store backups of the data stored at the other sites.
      • Some businesses have contracts with a company that specialises in data backup and they will back up all the data at a secure remote location using a secure Internet link.

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