Backing Up Your Data
Why backup data?
Backing up our digital data is one of those things we tend to forget about. It’s easy to take for granted just how much we rely on our computers and devices every day for both personal and business use – but if you have ever lost all of your photos, music and documents then you already know how important it is to stay a step ahead.
Data on our phones, computers, laptops and tablets is vulnerable to loss in a number of different ways. It could happen by accidentally deleting files, by viruses and malware corrupting our devices, power surges and failures, mechanical damage to the hard drive, theft of your computer or device, fires and other natural disasters, or something as simple as spilling coffee onto the keyboard.
To get an idea of how important it is to back up your data, think about what you have stored on your computer and devices. It might be priceless family photos, sensitive documents, email correspondence, business or financial data, assignments etc. What it would mean to you personally if it was gone forever?
How can I backup my data?
Local or remote? Pros and Cons
When backing up locally, we have the advantage of keeping our data securely in our own hands. Backups can also be scheduled and performed automatically, provided our desired data storage device is connected and set up for the job. This makes the process incredibly easy, as we can just set and forget. On the downside, hard drives (and particularly USB flash drives) don’t last forever and are not immune to failure. For this reason, it is best to make backups of your backups – especially for critical data that you cannot afford to lose.
Remote backups are very convenient as we don’t have to physically connect anything to our computer or device. Instead, it’s all done using an internet connection. These backups can be scheduled and performed automatically, provided we have a subscription or an account with a cloud-based storage provider. When we backup to the cloud, our data is almost always encoded with a specific encryption key by the service provider. We are given access to the correct key when we sign in to our cloud storage account and provide the correct password. The downside here is that we are trusting all of our personal data with large companies that don’t always have our best interests at heart, potentially exposing our data to hackers, and there is generally a cost or subscription involved when using these service providers – so it pays to shop around!
Click here more information on cloud storage.
What's the best way to back up my data?
As crucial as it is, unfortunately there is no such thing as one perfect solution when it comes to backing up your data. Different people will obviously have different needs, but what is of most importance here is that you have access to a recent copy of your data if/when something does go wrong. This means having a system in place and making sure you perform your backups regularly.
If you choose to rely on local backups only and keep those backups in the same location as your computer or device, it is worth considering what would happen in the unfortunate event of a fire or flood. Likewise, if you choose to rely solely on remote backups, it is worth considering who exactly you’re trusting your private data with and how vulnerable their systems are to hackers.
For these reasons alone, it is best practice to use a mix of both local and remote backup solutions that works for your needs. It is not uncommon for some users to regularly backup their smartphones and tablets to their computer as well as the cloud, then backup their computer to 2 different external hard drives, while backing up especially critical data to a couple of USB flash drives and to the cloud as well. This might sound like overkill, but with these contingencies in place they can be sure that their data is both safe and recoverable – not if but when they need it.
If you’re unsure of where to start or have any questions about the best backup solution for your needs, feel free contact us for help.