This is a rather important topic, but most people look the other way. We have many clients come in with hard drive failing or viruses, our first question is are your files backed up. Most the time the answer is no. People take great pride in the pictures of children and friends, but don’t think much about the protection of those files.
A hard drive is a mechanical item. Like any other moving thing it slowly wears down, gets old, and begins to fail. There is no real life expectancy. Its not like a car with a 30,000 mile warranty. It could fail today or tomorrow. In fact most hard drives have a 1 year limited warranty or less. Most cases the drive will fail without notice and very well could fail quickly.
So we turn to backups, but many people are not sure how to backup and if they even need to. Some out there have backed up at some time in the past but it is so long ago that they still face great risk to their data should something fail. There are many types of devices out there, and even more software solutions.
While you might not need to backup constantly, it is recommended that you at least backup monthly. At a minimum you should backup your files after large changes. If you load your memory card full of pictures into your computer, you should then backup in short order to protect that data.
But where should you backup? Should you pay a monthly subscription or purchase a device?
Backing up your files online can be a very safe or very perilous way to go. If you find a trusted online backup program then you should have no problems. When shopping for backup companies online, look into if they have quotas such as if there is a maximum amount of data you can backup, or transfer each month. Weigh those with the cost of the service. Another option to look into is how fast can you get your files back should the unthinkable happen. Also be sure to learn about the security of your files, ensure that you and you alone can access them.
What about your own backup hard drive? This is a great low cost item that will enable you to backup your files easily. But the thing that most people don’t think of is drive security. Is your backup hard drive on your desk next to your computer? What happens in a fire, or a break in? Keep your backup hard drive safe and secure. Invest in a fire safe or safety deposit box and keep your drive in it when you are not backing up. The other key to remember is to check your backup data from time to time. If you are not checking your backups, how do you know if they will work when you need them most? Our last tip with backup hard drives is that of again it is a hard drive with moving parts. While solid state technology is growing, it is still not a reasonable cost yet. It is always possible for your back drive to fail. Keeping more than one drive with duplicate copies of your data is far safer.
No matter what road you choose, always remember to backup. Do not let yourself fall victim to lost data.