You’ve made sure your car, house and business is protected with appropriate insurance but what have you done to protect the data on your computer? These days, replacing a computer is quick and relatively low cost but what would you do without the information stored on it? Ask anyone that has had a data loss how important a good backup is and you’ll be happy that you did the planning now.

Many questions go into determining what type of backup makes the most sense for your business data. Onsite versus offsite, how much needs to be stored, how many computers and servers, how often you want to backup, etc. are all things to be considered. The three main options of computer backup are tape drive, disk to disk and cloud.

Tape drive backup is the oldest method of backing up but it is still very reliable when used correctly though it does require human intervention. Along with being relatively expensive, a tape drive backup will not be of any use if the tapes are left onsite and a disaster occurs. I’ve heard of employees taking the tapes home with them but then you also run the risk of something happening to it when it’s out of the office.

USB drives, external hard drives and network drives are all examples of Disk to Disk (D2D) backup systems. Compared to a tape backup system, a D2D is less expensive and much quicker. Again though, human intervention is involved and for higher level of protection the devices should not be kept under the same roof.

Cloud backup solutions are understandably becoming the standard among small to medium size businesses. Most importantly, cloud solutions are safe from burglary and natural disasters, easily accessible from an Internet connection and there’s no physical device to lose or break.

Human intervention is also minimal; often you are just looking for a “backup successful” indicator. The downside is that you’re entrusting your information to someone else so you must feel comfortable with a company you are working with and ensure that they are utilizing proper safeguards such as encryption.

Regardless of the method you choose, proper setup and ongoing verification of successful backups is the key to protecting your data. No matter how computer savvy you are it never hurts to speak with an IT professional to make sure that your plan makes sense. Again, just ask someone who has lost their QuickBooks files or years of customer data and they’ll tell you how important it is to have a proper backup solution in place, giving you the peace of mind that your data is protected.