Have you ever accidentally deleted a folder on your computer? I know I have! Keeping backups of your data can protect you from these kinds of silly blunders, as well as ransomware, hard drive crashes, or anything else the universe throws at you. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of supremacy that comes after successfully restoring data from a backup and knowing that you can’t be stopped!
Data loss can be a severe problem for individuals and businesses. Just recently, my mother discovered that an entire hard drive’s worth of data had gone missing from her computer. I still had the original drive, fortunately, but if I hadn’t she would have lost priceless photos that aren’t stored anywhere else. My mother isn’t unique—this could happen to anyone.
I’ve been asked about backing up data a lot lately, so here are some tips to help you find a solution that works best for your personal needs.
What is a backup?
A backup is simply the collection of copied data stored in diverse, secure media. A common rule of thumb is known as the 3-2-1 rule: Keep three copies of your data, on at least two different types of storage devices, with at least one copy stored offsite. For example, you might have the original copy of a document stored on your computer, another copy on a flash drive, and a third copy in a cloud storage solution such as Google Drive.
This is important because if your computer crashes, you’ll still have your flash drive, and if your house burns down, you’ll still have the data secured in the cloud.
I’ve already mentioned using the ubiquitous flash dive for keeping a backup copy, but for system backups (where you keep copies of all the files on your computer, or even a snapshot of your whole hard drive) you’ll want something more robust with greater capacity. Here are a few ideas:
Keeping your files backed up in the cloud is prudent, but potentially expensive. Here is a list of common cloud storage services. Note that most of these services offer free plans with limited capacity, and larger capacity accounts for monthly premiums.
I hope this helps you understand the concept of backing up your data a little better. In a future article I’ll explain how to perform backups in greater detail, but until then please don’t hesitate to call or email me with any questions!