An essential part of a backup and recovery strategy is managing backups after you create them. Backup management includes deleting obsolete backups and performing periodic checks to ensure that backups are available and usable.
As the name suggests, this refers to the process of copying everything that is considered important and that must not be lost. This type of backup is the first copy and generally the most reliable copy, as it can normally be made without any need for additional tools.
This process requires much more care to be taken over the different phases of the backup, as it involves making copies of the files by taking into account the changes made in them since the previous backup. For example, imagine you have done a full backup. Once you’ve finished, you decide that going forward you will do incremental backups, and you then create two new files. The incremental backup will detect that all the files in the full backup remain the same, and will only make backup copies of the two newly created files. As such, the incremental backup saves time and space, as there will always be fewer files to be backed up than if you were to do a full backup. We recommend that you do not try to employ this type of backup strategy using manual means.
A differential backup has the same basic structure as an incremental backup?in other words, it involves making copies only of new files or of files that underwent some kind of change. However, with this backup model, all the files created since the original full backup will always be copied again. For the same reasons as with incremental backups, we recommend that differential backups are also not carried out manually.
Where to store the backup
Once you have decided which type of backup is best suited to your needs, it is important to consider carefully where to store it. The types of media most commonly used for storing data have changed over the years. Backups have been variously done on punch card, floppy disk, optical media like CD, DVD and Blu-Ray, tape, external hard disk, cloud-based storage services, and more. One of the questions you need to consider when deciding where to save your backup copy is: How long am I going to need to keep this backup? Knowing the answer to that will make it easier to figure out which medium to store your files on.
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