Backing-Up your Data
Our computers have become a storage devices for our important documents, personal information, and files of sentimental value. We often dread the idea of suddenly losing access to these.
If you own a computer then you most definitely have files on there that you don't want to lose. Unfortunately, there are many things that pose a threat to your data, such as cyber crime, hardware failure, power outs, natural disasters, and human error.
There are a few ways to back up your data, it all depends on what is best for your setup:
External Hard Drives:
This can be a literal copy of your entire computer system or selected important files, which are stored on a separate HDD. This should then be kept off the main premises in a safe place. It is generally a good idea to have at least 2 copies should 1 of them become damaged or the data corrupted in some way.
Often popular for business firms as a properly set-up server allows all authorised staff members access to the company’s data wirelessly (even remotely if a VPN service is in use). This may be in the form of a single desktop computer, a NAS (Network Attached Storage), or a more complicated set-up. Depending on the complexity of your server setup, this could be the pricier option in terms of initial configuration, hardware costs, and maintenance.
Increasingly popular, this is a way of backing up and “synchronising” your data between multiple devices. You will often have the option to store your data both on your computer/server as well as online, or you can free up space on your physical hard drive and store your data entirely online. Cloud services also allow one to share files and folders with others, and to customise those sharing options to your liking. Some well-known Cloud storage services include Microsoft’s OneDrive, Google’s GoogleDrive, and DropBox. While some services offer you a limited amount of storage space for free, others require you to pay a monthly subscription.
This is basically a way of creating a replica of your file system on the internet, and there are several companies out there that offer this service. It is slightly different from Cloud back-ups in that most online storage services don’t allow you to “share” folders or files with others.
Any one of the options above should never be the sole source of backing-up your data. Rather, it is wise to apply the "3-2-1 Rule": That is to store 3 copies of your data, over at least 2 different methods (eg. external drives AND cloud storage), and to keep at least one copy offsite. It’s also best to back-up your data on a monthly, if not weekly, basis to at least 1 external drive. You will be extremely glad for doing so should your computer/server get hacked and your data held ransom, or if the hard drive itself should ever get damaged or stolen.
Some have put off backing up their data only to learn a tough lesson when disaster strikes. Don't let it happen to you!