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Computers and Backups

We would like to give some recommendations on data security:

Nobody likes to think about accidents - nevertheless we take precautions, e.g. by wearing safety belts.

Foresight is also a good thing when dealing with data security. Practically all neurofeedback systems include a computer. Not only are there neurofeedback programs on the computer, but also patient data, practice management and much more. If your computer fails, you can not continue with your business. Repair or replacement can take days and the resulting loss in profit can easily exceed the cost of a new computer. Nowadays computers are quite rugged, but nevertheless small causes can lead to total failure - the most sensitive part is the hard disc - the main data memory. A small accident, like dropping a moderately heavy item on the computer desk can destroy your hard disc. Or you catch a virus. And then...

We recommend limiting the damage by doing routine backups of your computer data.  

Even if it seems exaggerated, the following has proved of value:

  • Not only back up data and documents but also the whole contents of your hard disc. In case of damage the complete system can be recovered by copying it onto a new hard disc. This process takes about one hour - no programs have to be reinstalled - everything is exactly as before. 
    There are lots of products available for this purpose; We use Norton Ghost- that doesn´t mean it´s the best or the cheapest. But we know it and therefore recommend it.
  • It is advisable to use a large USB-hard drive for backups. One terabyte (a thousand gigabytes) cost about one hundred Euro. This enables to keep even old backups. So, if you did catch a virus, you can just recover an old backup that was made while the system was still running without problems.
  • Maybe this sounds paranoid - but why not use a second USB hard drive and keep it at a different place (at home or in a safe). In case of burglary, very often computers and accessories are stolen...
  • Buy a spare hard disc for your computer. When a failure occurs you want to be back in business quickly and do not want to look around for a place to buy one. Better buy it in good times. It is wise to copy a backup onto it right away (replace the original disc with the empty one and copy a backup on it). You then have a hard disc with a functioning system handy if the worst case happens. And you already now how to recover a backup.  
  • Modern backup software allows to do incremental backups - only the changes that have been made since the last backup are recorded. The advantage here is that it is quick and doesn´t take a lot of computing power.

Maybe this all sounds paranoid. But experience has taught us that it is very useful.