We’ve all heard the saying that a picture’s worth a thousand words, and in many cases, we would probably agree it’s true. With images, you’re able to convey so much more information than with words alone because some things are just indescribable and have to be seen to be believed.
But did you know that data storage works the same way? When it comes to backing up your computer systems, the only real way to ensure everything is safe and secure is with an image – system image backups in this case – which refers to saving a complete “picture” of your computer systems, recording every single file and setting so everything can be put back the way it was in the event that disaster strikes.
Did you know? 50% of hard drives fail within five years.
What’s a System Image?
System image backups are a set of files that contain everything stored in your network, including all of your data, files and settings. System image programs scan the entire system and copy everything bit by bit, so the entire setup can be restored as it was, if it’s needed.
The system image is essentially a kind of snapshot of everything in your company’s computer system at the time it was made. So for example, if all of your data encompasses two terabytes, your image backups will be of a similar size.
There are many different system image programs available to create image backups, and some save the images as different file types. For that reason, most people use the same program to both create a system image and restore it. Windows itself is capable of creating image backups with multiple file types with .xml and .vhd extensions.
We don’t always want to use a full system image for backup. In some cases where you just need to protect a bunch of newly updated files, we select the files and folders to backup and choose the location where we want them to be stored. So if anything happens to the system or those files are lost or corrupted, we can easily restore the old ones and use them again.
File-level backups give users more granular control than image backups for items like SQL, Exchange, and System State. They also provide the ability to exclude many items that do not need to be backed up. As such, file level backups are a quick and convenient way to backup important things, but much less comprehensive.
Perform Image Backups
Image backups take longer to do but are necessary at regular intervals to ensure your company’s systems and data are secure. The main advantage is that a system image stores all of your information in a single operation, providing a full system restore capability in the event you’re hacked, hardware fails, or some other problem occurs.
Image backups can be used to backup data online, restore hardware, enable file-level restores from the system image, and recover servers across local and wide area networks. This is far more advanced than simple file-level backups and highly recommended for companies that can’t afford to lose their data.
Did you know? 96% of all business workstations are not being backed up.
Simply put, if you don’t perform regular system image backups on your network, there’s no guarantee that your business will be able to survive in the event of a hack or hardware failure. In fact, it’s probably fair to say a system image is worth much more than a thousand words – thousands of gigabytes in fact – when it comes to keeping your business safe.