By failing to prepare you are preparing to fail. Make sure you can bounce back if, or when, a data disaster occurs.
“Reserve refers to the copying of physical and virtual files, or databases, to a secondary location for storage in the event of equipment failure or disaster. Backing up data is critical to a successful disaster recovery plan.”
Honestly, this definition should be enough justification for you to consider backing up your files. However, since it’s not always that easy (especially in the case of PC operating systems), a refresher on its importance and how you can back up your data is just around the corner.
Again, why should you back up your files?
From a security perspective, data backup is almost as important as having digital protection or endpoint security softwareIn essence, it should be an integral part of any data protection you or your organization may be inclined to, because data integrity and having failsafe safeguards in the event of a critical failure is… well, critical.
Permanently losing data is not a warm experience, but it can be very emotional. In general, you’ll want to keep all the pictures and videos that capture your precious memories, as well as the proof of purchase that some companies send you (for warranty reasons), or only documents that you think are important for fiduciary or administrative reasons.
For companies, losing access to project documentation, financial and account data, sales, marketing, human resources, and more will have a significant economic and resource impact on the company’s future operations following a data loss. Even worse, losing access to data thanks to wiperware or ransomware may incur higher financial or reputational costs.
Losses in many ways
Back in the day, when everyone used hard drives, it was common for them to fail after a certain amount of time, which was always an experience no one wanted to experience. It can also happen with solid-state drives (SSD), but it’s less likely because unlike HDDs, they don’t rely on a mechanical read-write method.
So, imagine having all your favorite photos on your HDD drive and your drive fails. It may start with a strange clicking sound, a strange sound coming from the machine, or missing files on your computer, accumulating into a catastrophic failure.
For more corporate examples, bad actors might also block access to your data, and in the worst case, encrypt or completely erase it. Without dragging user or mechanical fault into it as well, it’s safe to say that such an incident would have a rather severe impact on a company’s operations, losing trust and reputation – basically like throwing a wrench at a well-oiled machine.
There are ways to recover files from a failed or deleted drive, but they are usually not 100% successful. For these reasons and many others, tech-savvy people always prefer to back up, whether to CD/DVD, external/secondary drives, or (which are slightly more expensive and complicated) home servers.
This method has been superseded by cloud backup method, which is available for computers and smartphones/tablets, creates an easy way to back up your files. But not all methods are the same, and often ease of use, convenience, or the amount you can back up will vary, because maintaining such a cloud server costs money.
Let’s explore some backup options that might work for you or your organization:
External/secondary drives – this method may require additional storage with a larger volume; however, this is probably the least troublesome method. Just select a folder and copy it to another drive.
- For MacOS user, use Time Machine to back up to another storage device.
- For windows users, you can back up the OS as an image (via Backup and Restore*) to another drive, or use it File Historywhich automatically creates incremental backups of files stored in the Library to a different storage device.
- For Android (device), you can connect it to Windows machine and copy the folder you want, whichever is best for photos/videos/documents. Alternatively, your phone manufacturer may provide computer software for making local backups.
- For iOSInstall iTunes and make a local encrypted backup on your PC. You can also sync your phone over Wi-Fi with this method.
*Even though Windows 7 has reached the end of its lifespan, Backup and Restore still mentions Windows 7 in its nomenclature.
This option doesn’t require purchasing an additional drive, or for you to reserve enough storage space on your computer to accommodate files from your phone. Cloud data storage provides a method whereby you can, either individually or through automated backups, save and then recover data in an emergency.
The caveat, in this case, is that because provisioning cloud infrastructure is expensive, such options are usually paid for.
But you can access your saved files from anywhere, as long as you have an internet connection. Also, no hard connection is required; You can easily restore your original backup, even to a new phone!
- For windowsYou can choose between a variety of cloud providers, but the fastest option is OneDrive, which is pre-installed on your computer. Here you can select the libraries you want to back up periodically or select the folders/files you want to back up and place them in your OneDrive folder. Keep in mind that only 5GB is free, with additional storage paid for.
- For macOS and iOS, iCloud is your direct choice. With it, you can periodically save your desktop and library and choose which files you want to store in iCloud Drive. Five free shows, with additional paid tiers. The benefits are seamless Apple device continuity and encryption.
- Androids users can freely back up their phones using their Google Account, but again, only 15 GB is free, with additional tiers requiring purchase. Mind you, the amount of data and backup quality may be lacking, so watch out for that. Alternatively, they can save individual files to another option such as OneDrive, Dropbox, or Proton Drive.
More experienced users can set it up on their own network attached storage (NAS), and use external services or software to issue network backups of their computers or phones, but this requires more patience and technical expertise; hence not recommended for casual users unless they want to challenge themselves.
Saving digital life
In conclusion, the choice is clear considering all these options. It doesn’t take an expert to use the local or cloud options, but it does take some curiosity to explore all the providers and places you can use to store your files safely. It’s better to be safe than sorry, so if you can, please back up your data (and test backups regularly), because risking your digital presence just isn’t worth it.