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One Step Ahead

December 20, 2011, Volume 58, No. 16

Another tip in a series provided by the Offices of Information Systems & Computing and Audit, Compliance & Privacy. 

Strategies and Services to Insure Against Data Loss

A 2003 study from Pepperdine University showed that almost three quarters of all data loss is the result of hardware failure and human error. In a moment, research, photographs, spreadsheets, documents, e-mail—anything and everything stored on your computer—can be lost if your hard drive fails or you lose your laptop. The moral: back up your data! Regular backups to a separate device are the only insurance you can have against any form of data loss.

Users should talk to their Local Support Providers (LSPs) to find out what options are recommended and available locally for backing up Penn data.

In addition, ISC now has available a for-fee service called Secure Remote Backup, for backing up desktops and laptops. This easy-to-use service lets you define exactly what you want to back up and determine a convenient schedule for running your backups. All data are compressed and encrypted before being sent to two separate repositories, which maintain copies of the backups. Information is at www.upenn.edu/computing/isc/lts/srb/srb.html

Although not typically providing the protection of encryption, other backup options include connecting an external hard drive to your computer and scheduling regular backups through your OS software. A USB key can also be used to back up data, but it is important to keep in mind how easily these small devices can be lost.

The unfortunate truth is that drives do fail and laptops do get lost. Protect yourself and Penn data by working proactively and backing up regularly.

For additional tips, see the One Step Ahead link on the Information Security website: www.upenn.edu/computing/security/

Almanac - December 20, 2011, Volume 58, No. 16