Usually, we never worry about the need to back up data on our computers to keep them safe until we have lost a chunk of important work, and it becomes impossible to recover them. Your laptop gets stolen, damaged, or it gets attacked by some virus, and poof all your work is gone. Whatever the reason may be, losing your data can be a real nightmare and super frustrating for just about any computer user.
The question is, why wait until you have lost all your data when you can simply apply the tips below to help keep your most important data backed up and safe in multiple formats?
If you enjoy diving into the topic of disaster recovery, then check out Cloud Academy’s Disaster Recovery & Backup. This course explains how cloud storage fits in with DR and the different considerations when preparing to design a solution to back up your on-premises data to AWS.
Without further ado, 5 tips to back up your data, and keep it safe.
1. Save it on A USB stick or flash drive
Backing up your data in this format is affordable, convenient, and easy to carry around. You can easily find one at an office supply store, and it comes in storage sizes of 2GB, 4GB, 16GB, 32GB, etc. Simply connect the USB to your computer’s USB port, drag and drop your files to the USB and have it saved and backed up in a matter of minutes. However, you should note that the read and erase cycle of some USB sticks are limited, making it the least durable back up plan on this list.
- Portable in size and easy to carry around
- It is very affordable
- It saves files easily
- They have very fast transfer speeds, especially the 3.0 version
- Some comes with password access making it very secure
- It consumes very low energy
- Because it is small, you could easily lose it
- It comes with limited storage space
- Limited read and erase cycle on some USB sticks
- It is prone to damage especially because of the USB plug
2. Hook up to an external hard drive
You can connect an external hard drive through the USB port to your computer. This could cost roughly about $55 for one terabyte of storage (1 terabyte equals 1,000 gigabytes). Setting up an external hard drive may need a bit of know-how, especially if you’re a Windows user because there are so many drive choices.
If you own a Mac, then the in-built Time Machine application can be used to routinely (hourly or daily) back up your data to the external hard drive. It is also reasonable that you use an external hard drive with twice the amount of space on your computer’s drive, so you will avoid running out of storage space.
- It has ample storage space
- It is affordable
- It is easy to use
- It is lightweight and portable
- It can store almost any type of file
- It is open to malware that can cause loss of data
- It can easily be destroyed physically (fire, break, theft, etc.)
- Heavy usage could lead to overheating
- External hard drives that require a direct plug into your computer can drain battery energy
3. Get your data into the cloud
Cloud service is a very popular way to backup your data, especially in cases of avoiding physical damage to your storage device. There are a lot of service providers that allow you to save your data on their large servers either for free limited storage space or for a small fee to keep the data protected. You also have instant online and offline access to your stored data from any computer or mobile device whenever you need it. There are different service providers to choose from, such as Apple (iCloud), Microsoft (OneDrive), and Google (Google Drive), Dropbox, Sync, iDrive, etc.
Aside from the regular cloud service providers, there are also translation and localization service providers such as The Word Point that help you translate and save documents. This can allow you to easily retrieve such documents from your login page on their website.
- Enables automatic backup
- Allows you access your data anywhere
- Provides large storage capabilities for rapid data increase
- Some providers offer a limited amount of storage for free
- Needs an internet connection to work in some cases
- Possibility of a security breach
- Data may be lost if the service provider decides to close shop
- Possibility of increased cost for storage space
- It isn’t very easy to migrate from one service provider to another
4. Burn copies of your file to an SD card or disc
Almost all computers have drives for DVD’s and CD’s which you can use to create copies of any of your data and files to store somewhere safe. DVDs, in particular, provide you with a large amount of storage space, and the backup process is quick and easy. However, you may need to label each disc properly so you can identify and retrieve whatever data you need easily. For computers that don’t have an in-built CD or DVD drive, you have the option of purchasing an external drive that you can connect to your computer via a USB port.
SD cards, which stands for Secure Digital cards, are the tiny chips you see in certain mobile devices, memory cards, etc. and they can also hold up a lot of storage space. Simply slot them into your card reader on your computer to save all your data for backup.
- They allow you to save files in a second location with ease
- It is a cheap and easy way to save files
- They are lightweight and portable
- It is affordable
- Not a good solution if you require daily backup.
- Some devices do not have provision for Discs
- Discs can easily scratch and skip, while SD cards can break and easily get corrupt
5. Backup files on a NAS device
NAS simple means Network Attached Storage. It is a device that enables storage and retrieval of data from a central location for authorized network users on multiple computers. This is particularly great for enterprises and small businesses because NAS devices are safe, flexible, and can be easily scaled out. You can always add more storage space to your NAS as your network grows or if your storage needs increase rapidly. NAS can be connected either through wires or wirelessly to your network, depending on the drive and your computer. Once you configure NAS, it can easily display backup data on another drive on your computer.
- Provides vast storage capabilities for rapid data increase
- It can back up several computers at once
- Easy to operate
- Enables automatic backup that adjust to changes made on your PC
- Easy to Set Up
- It is a little bit expensive
- In the case of data failure, it is not straightforward to recover data without the help of professional data recovery services
On a final note
You should regularly test out any of the backup plans you choose, so you are sure that your recovery plan is intact. It is also crucial that you consider using more than one of the listed backup tips, so even in the worst-case scenario, you still have a backup plan for your backup plan.