Today is March 31, 2014 and it is World Backup Day!
What does that mean? Lets start with what is a backup. The World Backup Day organizers say it the best way:
A backup is a second copy of all your important files — for example, your family photos, home videos, documents and emails.
Instead of storing it all in one place (like your computer), you keep another copy of everything somewhere safe.
So today, March 31, is the day of the year to bring awareness of the importance of making backups of your digital life.
Why should I Care?
Today people store irreplaceable data of family photos and videos, financial information, or even business records for your home business or job. Imagine waking up the next morning and losing all of that information, from either a computer crash, theft, or a disaster.
With an backup, you could be back up and going as soon as you get your computer fixed or replaced. However, if you have no backup of any kind you would lose that data forever.
Common Data Loss
There are several ways you could lose access to your data, these occur everyday to someone in the world. Here are just a few:
- Spyware/Virus Infection or Operating System Failure
- Hardware Failure
Hard Drives, the device that stores all your data in your computer, will fail. It’s only a matter of time.
- Nature or Man-Made Disasters
- Human Error/Accidental Deletion
- And Many More…
How Should I Backup My Data
There are a number of ways to backup your data, but it depends on how much data you need to backup and from what device. Lets focus on backing up your computer, but don’t forget you need to backup your mobile devices – Smartphones and Tablets.
Between 1-16 Gigabytes
USB Flash Drives
More Than 16 Gigabytes of Data
Portable Hard Drive or Online Backup Service
If you want to backup a few documents and photos, you could easily just use a common USB Flash Drive. At the time of this writing, you can easily pick up a 16 Gigabyte Flash Drive for $20. You could even use a online storage/sync services to backup your data, an great example is Dropbox. You could even use Dropbox to backup a small amount of data using there free tier – assuming it’s not bigger than 2 Gigabytes. (We have a getting started video for Dropbox, if you are interested).
However, if you have more than 16 or 32 Gigabytes of data that you need to backup, you have a few options to choose from. The first option is to use a portable hard drive, it is very similar to a USB Flash Drive but a portable hard drive has a much larger capacity than Flash Drives. You would use it just like the Flash Drive, either by copying over the data to be backup or using your computer’s built-in backup utilities.
Your other option is an Online Backup Service. A Online Backup Service is a company that allows you to backup your computer(s) to there servers over your Internet connection. How it works is you pay the Online Backup Service either monthly or yearly and you install a backup agent on your computer(s) and tell the backup agent which files and folders to backup. Then in the background the backup agent will securely send copies of your selected files to the Online Backup Services Company’s servers where they are stored – waiting until you need to restore a previously altered or deleted file.
There are many companies in the Online Backup Services group, just a few of them are CrashPlan, Carbonite, and Mozy.
There are few reasons to use a Online Backup Service instead of a portable hard drive:
- No need to worry about running out of space (depends on provider)
- You don’t have to manage hardware
- It’s almost a set it, and forget service
- Allows you to restore files to other computers or new computers
- Off Site Backup
The last reason is worth going into a bit more detail.
Off-Site vs. On-Site Backups
There are two types of backups, Off-Site and On-Site. In a perfect world you should have both an on-site and off-site backup of all your data, but that is not realistic for most people.
The on-site backup is for most recent changes to your data in real time. It’s used to recover from small errors or accidents very rapidly. An example would be if you accidentally deleted that important article you were writing for your website.
The off-site backup is for long term data retention and from a local disaster. Off-site backups allow you to recovery your data even if a fire, flood, or what have you, has destroyed your local backups or the original copies of the data.
I hope you now understand how important it is to have a backup of your digital life. Just remember it’s just as important to have a backup of your new computer, as it is to have one of your old computer (Maybe doubly so for a older computer). You don’t need to spend a lot to get started, all you need to do is just DO IT. So Start Backing up your memories before they’re gone…
P.S. You can find more out at World Backup Day.
This page is not officially supported or endorsed by World Backup Day. The World Backup Day Logo is property of WorldBackupDay.com.