Having a backup of your data is crucial. Being able to successfully restore your data is even more crucial.
For the last three weeks, I have been spending two hours a week on organizing/reorganizing all my data. One of my goals for 2012 is to be 100% sure I am backing up what I need and ONLY what I need. I have two backup drives here in my office that I use with Apple’s Time Machine. I also then backup remotely once a week to Amazon S3 using JungleDisk. I also have data on a remote server for all my web sites (including this one) that gets backed up on/off site. A few weeks ago I decided to centralize all my remote data on Amazon S3. All media/uploads/theme files/etc get served up from Amazon S3 which not only helps with my centralization of data – but it also speeds things up a bit too.
Now that I have everything flowing into one place – I realized I am backing up a lot of stuff. Stuff that does not need to be backed up and will only cause frustration and increased storage cost. So – when thinking (or re-thinking) about backups, make sure you also consider what you are backing up. I found I was backing up backup archives, photos I would never use/look at, etc that were completely a waste of space. By going through all of my content I was able to save significantly in space/cost in my backup solution.
So – if you have a backup plan – make sure you know how to restore from it (and actually test it). If you do not have a backup plan – take a few minutes to look into doing something ASAP. You will lose data at some time – that is a guarantee. You can either take a few minutes now and get something in place or you can spend hours/potentially thousands to restore “that data you really need”. Your choice. This has been your annual reminder.