Imaging? Backups? What’s the Difference?

As you know, data is vital to the life of your business. Without it, continuing business would be difficult, if not impossible.  You know the importance of backing up your data, and you know there are different methods- but what makes sense for your business?

Imaging vs. Backups

An image is a bit for bit copy of a computer’s hard drive. This includes the operating system, installed programs, files in those programs, the settings associated with each program, and file structure. Imaging software creates a mirror image of your hard drive. If your hard drive fails, then your entire system can be restored. All of your current settings and preferences are preserved; making the transition to a new computer easier.

Images are most commonly done on servers because of the amount of time imaging can save in the event of a server failure.  A typical complete server rebuild, is anywhere from 3 to 5 business days. For an average sized business, that is a lot of downtime. Restoring a server from an image takes a fraction of that time; about half a day to a full business day.  Images should be updated at least on a weekly basis to ensure that images are up to date with most major changes.

Backups are copies of your documents, photos, and music and are typically done on individual workstations. Backups are very comprehensive yet selective. Multiple versions of an edited document can be restored from backups.  If a file is accidently deleted, a user can restore the file from backups relatively quickly. How frequently backups are done depends on the amount of data your business creates. For many organizations, conducting daily backups makes the most sense.  

A combination of imaging and backups are recommended for business.  Images and backups cannot stand alone in a complete contingency plan; a plan is only complete with the combination of both tools. 

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Posted on October 28, 2014 and filed under Data Backup.