In the digital age, it’s crucial to back up your data. We live much of our lives through our devices, which are relatively fragile creatures. If you drop your laptop, you can say goodbye to your hard drive and all the data stored on it. And if you use it for professional purposes, the sting is all the worse, because all of that work is gone.
Whether you’re a professional or not, backing up your data is a must. There are a few different backup strategies; some use as many as they can, others find the one(s) that work(s) for them. Either way, having any sort of backup is smarter than not having a backup at all.
External drives – Sounds expensive?
External hard drives are the tried and true method of backing up your computer’s internal hard drive. You can get them just about anywhere and they’re getting less expensive all the time. Furthermore, there have been innovations in storage, which make external drives an even safer bet than they were before, because you’re no longer locked into the traditional, disk-spinning HDD drives which are vulnerable to failure, because if the disk breaks, everything is gone, which would mean not only did your hard drive fail, your backup hard drive failed, which sucks.
The risk of external drive failure has been mitigated with the advent of SSD drives. They function much like thumb drives, using chips instead of disks. They’re a lot sturdier in terms of being resistant to drops and the like. The only real downside with external SSD drives is that they are more expensive per gigabyte that he classic HDD drives, but it’s just because the technology is newer. Many will find the increased safety worth it, however.
Whichever external drive you choose, this is the mainstay in a good backup strategy, but cannot be relied upon alone.
The Cloud – Access from any device, anywhere
You’ve heard of the cloud. It’s everywhere. It’s extremely accessible and a great place to back up your important data. Because you’ll likely be storing your external drive in the same place as your computer, it’s vulnerable to things like house fires or theft. Backing your data up offsite in the cloud is a vital step in creating a good backup strategy, because when things are stored offsite, they’re not vulnerable to whatever can befall your computer itself.
Another benefit of using the cloud is that it’s password protected. If you’re smart with your passwords and follow best practices in creating one, you can be pretty sure no one’s going to access your cloud data.
Also, you can get a pretty decent amount of cloud storage for free via Apple, Google, Microsoft, etc. And you can pay for extra through these services as well as services like DropBox. Most people find that they can back up their entire hard drive via the cloud. The only people who may have issues are video editing professionals and those in similar positions simply because they use incredibly large file sizes, but the cloud more than does it for most.
Thumb drives – Cheap and Portable
While thumb drives might not hold everything, they will hold your most important documents and you can store them in creative places. They shouldn’t be the mainstay of your backup strategy, but they’re a great ace in the hole. Check out our USB Thumb Drive Buying Guide!
To sum up…
If you put a responsible and prudent backup strategy in place, it’s highly unlikely you’ll ever experience massive data loss. Having a good backup strategy is just being smart.