Computer hardware has come such a long way in the last 30 years. Computers the size of whole rooms would contain enough memory to run a program (about 64 MB), and now we have 25 times that in a memory card the size of our fingernail (1-2 GB). While we are continuously improving the architecture of memory, access speeds, capacities, and even shifting from spinning disks to solid state drives, the issue of longevity and durability always seems to remain. So how can you and your church fight the potential for a significant hard drive crash in the future so that you do not lose important information and time? We have four solutions that your church may want to consider doing proactively.
1. USB Flash Memory
Many churches I know work on computers 10 and 15 years old. For them, technology needs to be cheap because all they are doing is sending emails and writing up documents, Excel sheets and PowerPoints, and looking through their Logos software. Nothing more is needed and their capacity for memory is very low compared to other staff in different roles. A quick, portable solution for them may be to simply backup their computer every night onto a thumb drive that they keep with them at all times. You have some wonderful options out there that are extremely inexpensive.
Patriot Supersonic Boost XT 32GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive | Cost: $32.99
Team X101 64GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive | Cost: $44.99
2. Small Cloud Storage
Some pastors simply have the inability to keep track of thumb drives. Other church teams want/need to have access to each other’s data for better collaboration. Again, the content is not super large and so small cloud solutions are the perfect way for them to not only constantly upload everything as backup, but share it whenever necessary. This seems to be the way things are headed, but note that you have to have the Internet connection to update and that is not always possible.
3. External Hard Drives
Many staff within the church have big backup needs, including photographers, videographers and the techies. At the same time, backing up whole computers with 250 GB up to 1 TB drives requires more than a thumb drive or free Dropbox account. Hard drives have been the traditional route for backing up, and there are great options out there for different people. Originally, people have simply used external hard drives with Time Machine or a PC comparable backup software, but my new favorite HHD docking station makes backing up and data transfer from multiple drives so easy. Here are some suggestions for hardware.
Thermaltake BlacX Duet 2.5″ & 3.5″ USB2.0 & eSATA Dual Hard Drives Docking Station | Cost: $53.99
Rosewill 3.5″ USB2.0 & eSATA External Enclosure | Cost: $16.99
Western Digital 1TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5″ Internal Hard Drive | Cost: $94.99
Seagate Barracuda 3TB 7200 RPM SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5″ Internal Hard Drive | Cost: $134.99
4. Large Cloud Storage
Just as external hard drives are the great traditional option, online cloud storage is perfect for backing up whole computers as they run at night. This is the future of computer storage, yet you are not in control of the hardware (which should be a good thing). While there are many great options out there, I feel that there is only one amazing solution for churches.
Carbonite | $5/month (unlimited space, one computer)
If your church still uses traditional desktop church management software, it’s critical to have a plan in place to backup this data. If your church uses web-based church management software, check with your provider to see what security and safety measures they have in place to backup data on their end. The last thing you want to have to deal with is lost data, which equals lost time and productivity. By having a plan in place, you can rest assured that your church’s information will be kept secure and easily accessible.
What solutions does your church use for backup?