Friday, December 31
Future-proof your data archive
It's easier than ever to make sure copies of your most important records, documents, photos, videos, and other personal data will be readable/viewable/playable long after the hardware and software used to create the files have bitten the dust.
The four keys to safe data archiving are to choose file formats that won't become obsolete, use storage media that won't deteriorate or become inaccessible, make multiple copies stored apart, and check your archived data regularly to ensure it's still readable.
Don't get stuck with outdated data formats
Most of the files you want to archive are likely in proprietary formats, such as Microsoft Office's .doc, .xls, and .ppt for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, respectively. Despite the ubiquity of software and services that let you read and edit Office files without the Office app used to create them, these formats will become obsolete one day--perhaps sooner than you may think.
Find a storage medium with legs
If you're wondering how long the data on your CDs and DVDs will last, you're not alone. Even the experts can't agree on the expected longevity of optical media--and the same is true for magnetic tapes and disks. (The X Lab offers a detailed discussion of optical media longevity, including a brief description of the ISO standards for testing optical media.)
More than one archive, more than one place
Storing your data archive online violates two rules of safe storage: you don't have physical access to the hardware the files are stored on, and you're susceptible to the financial health of the service you're using. If the service goes under, there's no guarantee you'll be able to retrieve your data, and you have to trust in the service's ability to maintain and back up its storage servers.
Schedule regular archive checkups
For the last couple of years I've been spending a good chunk of my spare time using the free Audacity audio software to convert several thousand songs on several hundred audio cassettes to MP3s. Some of the tapes were made as far back as the mid-1970s, but most date from the 1980s and early 1990s
Generally, it is very hard to keep up with each one of these tasks. QeH2 partners with many small-to-medium businesses to eliminate these pain points and helps to make you feel safe and secure. QeH2 has the proven track record and data recovery team in place to partner with your organization, protect your data from disaster and take your business to the next level this coming year.
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