Where Should Traders Backup their Data

Have you ever procrastinated about doing a task that was in your own best interest? Chances are creating a backup of your data is one of those tasks.

We know we’re supposed to, …we know we should,… but many of us don’t create backups. The risk is clear. A simple virus can wipe out hundreds of hours of work in a matter of seconds. How quickly we forget the last time an email from our friend took down our computer system and left us panicked. I know it can be a pain to backup your trading computer system, but you’ve got to do it.

So, what should you use for backing up your data? What are the different archival methods? You have two choices: local backups or remote storage.

You should weigh the pros and cons of local vs. remote. You may want to use both. Lastly, you should consider how stored data is secured.

Information Computer Security

Local Storage – What Are Your Options for Backing Up Your Trading Computer?

USB flash drives, external hard drives, DVDs and CDs are all great options for backing up your trading computer.

Local storage means a physical device you keep in your own location. Using an external drive or USB thumb drive to back up your essential data is the most common option.

On the other hand, local doesn’t have to mean in your home or office. You can have a local, off-site copy too. Being removable gives external hard drives, flash drives and DVDs a distinct advantage. You can take them to secondary storage location. Lock them in a wall safe or leave them in a safety deposit box.

If your computer is lost, stolen or destroyed you would still have access to your vital files and data. This is just a good practice.

For example, if you were running a company your Information Technology department would have procedures for copying data in several locations. That way if anything happens to the main office–God forbid–they could come back online in a few minutes by retrieving their off-site backups. Even if you’re just a lone-wolf trader, instead of a company, you should take a similar approach to your trading business.

Hard drives, like anything in the physical world, are prone to fail eventually (approximately 5-10 years). It’s a good practice to make a few copies just in case.

Backing up your data and important files to DVD or CD is another more permanent alternative. DVD’s and CD’s are small and portable, making them perfect for irreplaceable files that you intend to store for longer periods than a physical drive. They can be stored in a safe for 20 years or more without fear of degradation. USB Flash drives last a long time too since there are no moving parts.

Remote Storage – The Cloud Is The New Trend

Local back ups, even if offsite, may not have the redundancy you need. Maybe your situation calls for your data to be at the ready wherever you are on the globe. Cloud storage services are the new, more convenient way to store information.

Backing up to the cloud is basically remote storage constantly synchronized. This scenario enables you to have the enhanced ability to share that data on multiple computers. You can access your files from another location and even allow others to view them.

Putting the cloud to work isn’t has difficult as it used to be. In 2013, Microsoft incorporated their online cloud storage, SkyDrive, directly into Windows 8.  Microsoft isn’t the only player in the game. Dozens of third-party cloud storage firms such as Dropbox and Mozy are popular too.

However, all cloud services are not created equally.  One important consideration for choosing the right cloud storage service is the security they offer. You should investigate the cloud provider’s customer reviews and their reliability.

Pricing for remote storage services vary widely. It depends on the size of storage space provided.

Access to your data is limited to your Internet connection and the available network speeds, so if your connection is down you have no way to get your data back.

Traders need to weigh their options carefully – local storage or remote – and determine what is right for their situation.

Tips to Consider for Trading Computer Data Backups

  • Use CDs and DVDs to create long term storage of critical files and info.
  • Keep physical backups in both your home/office and a safe.
  • Consider keeping at least one copy of your data offsite in a safety deposit box.
  • Leverage the cloud to make sure your data is available wherever you go.
  • When you use the cloud secure your data so it is not publicly accessible.
  • Use cloud services that keep your data encrypted.
  • Create a recurring calendar event with a few automatic reminders each month to make fresh backup copies.
  • Automate as many of your backup procedures as possible. Let the computer do the work so you don’t have to.