Accidents happen. Broken computer, failed hard drive, malware attack, theft or fire… in a heartbeat, all of your precious documents, pictures and other data is lost! Don’t let that happen to you – backup your data!
Ways to Back Up Your Data
There are multiple ways you can back up your precious data - but it's better to use several methods!
- USB Sticks - usually big enough to store documents, pictures, and emails. Usual capacity is 16GB to 128GB. These are cheap and ubiquitous but not very reliable
- External Hard Drives - much higher capacity, enough to back up the whole computer. Cheap and relatively reliable, if you take a good care. These usually last more than 5 years although will likely fail if you drop them!
- Cloud Sync - accounts like Dropbox, Google Drive, iCloud, and OneDrive. These are not really backups as they sync your data right away, even deleted, corrupted and infected! Can be done for free and help if you computer crashes
- Cloud Backup - all of your important files are backed up to a cloud server. There are usually redundant copies of your data so even if the server with your backup malfunctions, your data is going to be safe.
Common Backup Mistakes
Backing up your data requires discipline and planning
- Data loss is a question of "when", not "if".
- Forgetting to do backups frequently. It's too easy to assume the computer will do it for you! If you only backup once a year, you are risking losing up to one year worth of data!
- Never checking if their backups actually work and can be restored. We have seen hard drives getting full and never notifying that there is no more room for storing backups!
- Forgetting to unplug back up drive. If your computer malfunctions or gets infected, your backups will become useless. Furthermore, hard drives that constantly remain plugged in, will wear down much quicker
- Losing the backup sticks or drives. "I'm sure I had it somewhere in this drawer..."
- Not having off-site backups. If your house burns down or gets flooded, your backup drive will become useless. If a thief steals your computer, what stops them from stealing your backup drive as well?
Below are some tips that will help you make sure your backups are done right!
- Follow the 3-2-1 backup strategy. It means having at least three copies of your data. Two remain local on different devices (like your computer AND portable hard drive), and one copy is off-site
- Back up as often as possible. The longer it has been since your last backup, the more data you will lose! We recommend at least weekly. Put a reminder in your calendar - backups only take a few minutes!
- Check if you can restore your backups on a different computer - at least once a year. Don't have another computer? Ask a friend and help each other!
- Don't forget about backing up your phones & tablets. You don't want to lose those kids pictures if you lose or smash the phone!