When Was the Last Time You Backed Up Your Data?
Did you know that 113 phones are lost or stolen every minute? Or that one in 10 computers is infected with a virus every single month? Once lost (either physically or in a cyberattack), the data they hold is also lost. In spite of this, 30 percent of people have never backed up their data.
What exactly is a backup? It is essentially a copy of all your important files, whether those are documents, emails, photos, videos, or contacts. Instead of storing all of your files on a computer, phone, or tablet that could easily be lost or compromised, when you back up, you have a full copy of everything in another location.
There are two main types of data backup, and both have their pros and cons.
The first type is by using an external storage device, typically a USB flash drive or an external hard drive. Both of these devices are portable drives that provide extra storage, and usually involve little more than plugging in and dragging/dropping or copying files from your computer’s hard drive. In order to use these storage devices for your phone and tablet, you first need to back up your data to your computer, then copy the backup data to your storage drive. Once your files are synced, they’ll be safe in an external location, away from power failures or cyberattacks.
The downside, however, is that since these devices are portable, loss and theft are still possible, and mechanical failures do happen. So, be sure to keep this data in a safe location and replace the devices every few years.
The second option for backups is to store your data in the Cloud. The Cloud allows you to move your files from your computer to a server in a data center, away from your home or work. There are many sites that offer cloud services and allow you a set amount of space that you essentially rent to store your files. Once you sign up for a service, you can upload documents, photos, and videos through their website.
The upside of this option is that you can view, modify, and delete files stored in your cloud storage account at any time, from any computer or mobile device. The drawbacks? Cloud storage services can and have been hacked, leaving your data vulnerable. Be sure to use a strong password and change it periodically, and ensure as much cyber protection as you can. Plus, your files cannot be accessed without an internet connection.
Choosing a backup option depends on your personal data needs and how you prefer to access your data. Regardless of which you choose, here are a few tips on backing up your data:
- Always keep business data and personal data separate, and back them up to separate locations. Where business data is concerned, always default to your employer’s backup policy and methods.
- Don’t forget about your email and calendar files, especially in Outlook. Your computer will store data files that contain your archive and personal folders. To find out where to access them in your computer, click here.
- Many phones and tablets have options to automatically back up data periodically, but some do not have this function turned on as a default. Check your phone settings to ensure backups are toggled on, or be sure to back it up periodically.
- At minimum, it’s best to back up important files on a weekly basis. Try setting a reminder on your calendar for the same day/time each week—that way you never forget!
- If you don’t want to back up files manually, there are many automatic software options available that you can use to create a backup at a selected time of the day or week. Many of these offer a free trial version online, so you can try several and decide what works best for you.
Have any data backup tips of your own? Chime in on our social media feeds on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. To learn more about World Backup Day and get step-by-step instructions on backing up your data, click here.