Recent decades brought a lot of changes in businesses. Information security has become very essential to the companies and ensuring this safety has become a big problem. Nowadays, information is mostly saved in electronic form on computer hard drives, but this is not the most secure way. The problem is that computers can break down, they can be stolen, hardware or software failure can cause damage or loosing important files or even the user can delete important files by mistake. Along with development of computers, people started to think how to secure the information. The best way to prevent data loss is to make data backup on a regular basis. In this topic, I will provide detailed backup strategy and describe some “old fashioned” and modern ways of making data backup. Another important thing that should be described here is disaster recovery plan, which is tightly bound to the process of data backup.
Disaster recovery plan is a set of actions that is needed to keep the data in safety and restore it even in case of disasters. Disasters can be caused by nature or human. Natural disaster can destroy the hardware. In case of human caused disaster both, hardware and software can be damaged. After any of such accidents, there is a need to restore the information as soon as possible. If you are using cloud based storage, then you will have to reinstall the operating system and download the files from your cloud or work directly with the files stored on the server. If you are using offline backup and performing full backup on regular basis, you have to simply run restore process and you will have the computer in the same state as it was before the disaster.
Today, you can find a lot of different software products, developed for making data backup and in case of any failure they restore the lost data back to your computer. Basically, they are performing four types of backup activities.
- Full Backup – all files, including system files are copied and saved.
- Differential Backup – all files that have been changed after the full data backup was made are copied and saved.
- Incremental Backup – all files that have been changed since you made last differential or full backup will be copied and saved.
- Daily Backup – this type of backup copies all files that have been created or edited during the day. 
When you will choose the method that you are willing to use, you have to search for the appropriate data carrier for your files. Data storage drives and devices are developing rapidly. Ten or fifteen years ago, people were using hard drives with capacity up to 20 GB, bit now this is pretty small volume and nobody will be surprised by 1 TB external drive or even flash drive.
In our case, the worker of a movie rental kiosk stopped by the gas station and his laptop with all the information was stolen. Let’s discuss his situation and help him to figure out what should he do to prevent such situations in the future. He has to make a backup plan and implement it as soon as possible to avoid data loss in similar situations.
I would assume that he has a lot of clients and he is modifying files with rented movies and clients pretty often. Making backup at the end of the day would be pretty good, but it would be even better if the backup could be made continuously. If he has internet access at his workplace he could use modern technology of cloud computing and cloud storage. I would suggest him using such applications as Dropbox, Google Drive or Microsoft SkyDrive.  All these technologies are quite similar. They all provide space on their “cloud” server that will keep the stored information in ultimate safety.
In case of using DropBox application all the files that are in the drop box folder and synchronized with the server each time when the files is modified. These files are saved on many different servers and then they are copied again to ensure data security. Even if the nuclear bomb will blast by the data center, in which the files are stored, you’ll still be able to access them, because they are also backed up on the other servers. This service has a free version with 2 GB storage. I think that this space will be quite enough to store all the important files, for a small business such as a movie rental kiosk. Besides, Dropbox and other similar services have some very useful features, such as data sharing. Data sharing will help users to share documents with others and everyone can modify them simultaneously. If the worker of movie rental kiosk has a Smartphone he can install Dropbox application and then explore and modify data directly from the phone. In such situation, he will always have access to the data even if he will lose his computer or if it will break down.
Everything that I wrote about Dropbox service, can be said about Google Drive and Microsoft SkyDrive.  They are extremely useful and will prevent data loss, but what happens if the worker does not have access to the internet at his workplace?
In such situation he will have to use old fashioned methods of data backup. He will have to use external hard disk drive, flesh drive or optical drive to save copy of the data from the computer. He will have to choose frequency of making the backup. Of course, there are some pros of using this method, for example, in this case, he will be able to make a full backup including backing up the system files and if the operating system crashes, he can restore the last copy and get the working computer back. Such options are not available in “cloud storage”. 
First of all, I would choose the type of backup. After installing the operating system and all the software that I need, I would make full data backup to keep a copy of a fresh operating system with all the necessary software and drivers, and if the system crashes, I will always be able to restore it just in a few minutes. Then I would set the data backup software so, that it could perform incremental backup every day after working hours. This option is good, because all the documents that will be made during the working day will be added to the backup file and can be restored next day in an emergency case. As we are not talking about a big corporation with thousands of documents, I would not use different storage devices for different days of the week. I would just purchase an external hard drive and connect it to my computer while making backup and then I would leave it at my workplace (otherwise it can be stolen with my bag again).
Approximate cost of all the necessary resources for proper data backup would be around 50$ for average software and about the same price for an external hard drive. In case of available internet access, I would have to pay nothing, because I would use such services as Dropbox and all my files would be backed up without any hassle and trouble.
In conclusion, I can say that, information security is very important for businesses and by loosing important piece of data, businesses can lose a lot of money and they should always manage their risks and minimize them as much as possible and surely invest time and money in securing their information.
- The Backup Strategy Guide. Retrieved from: http://www.backupassist.com/downloads/bsg.pdf
- Does Dropbox keep backups of my files? Retrieved from: https://www.dropbox.com/help/122/en
- Compare SkyDrive. Retrieved from: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/skydrive/compare
- Robb, D. Small Business Data Storage and Backup Trends in 2013. Retrieved from: http://www.smallbusinesscomputing.com/News/Storage/small-business-data-storage-and-backup-trends-in-2013.html