Data loss can happen to anyone, at any time. It can be caused by a hardware failure, software corruption, malware attack, fire, theft, or simply human error. Backing up your data is a crucial practice to protect yourself from these events. It will also save you the time, money, and stress of losing your data.
It’s not just about pushing a button. How much do you know about choosing the right cloud service to rely on for data protection? Do you back up your stored files to a second location (yes, really)? What about encryption, or password sharing, or remote access software?
If only backups were as simple as pressing a button! Fortunately, this is your go-to guide for more secure backup and storage.
What Needs to be Backed Up
When you’re wondering what to back up on your system, the answer is simple: Save everything that you don’t want to lose.
That includes personal documents, like photos, music, videos, emails, financial documents, and other memories and files that you don’t want to lose. You might also want to do this for application data, which includes settings and save files for those programs that you use frequently .
System files are essentially the applications and processes which your computer (or whatever device you’re considering) need to run. While not a priority for everyone, backing up system files can be helpful for a seamless system recovery in case of major issues. If a crucial file is corrupted or destroyed, it could crash your whole system irrecoverably.
When to Back Up Data
This, too, depends on preference and may vary for different types of files. For example, daily backups are recommended for essential files you can’t afford to lose. Weekly or monthly backups are sufficient for less frequently used files, or those you don’t mind losing in a cyber incident.
Then, at least once per month, you should back up your storage files to another, separate location. This not only ensures you have two versions saved in case one file is corrupted and won’t properly load; it also protects the integrity of all of your backed up data. Some cybercriminals circumvent the human element and go straight after your saved storage, hoping to excavate a large amount of data at once.
If these safe havens are infiltrated—or worse, held for ransom—then you’ll still have access to all of your important data.
You should also regularly test your backups to ensure they are working correctly and can be restored effectively. While you may manually backup your data more frequently, but automatic backups ensure your continued protection whether you forget or are otherwise prevented from doing it on time.
Where to Store Files
Some people prefer to keep physical storage systems. Others keep their files digitally. There is again no right answer, although both have their pros and cons; thus some might even prefer a mix of the two.
External hard drives are affordable and portable, but prone to physical damage. While this may be budget-friendly, you’ll run into trouble if you’re trying to expand a business or you simply go through too much storage space over time. Someone would have to physically steal the device in order to take the information on it, but it could be lost or destroyed in a natural disaster or break-in. You could use remote access software to control your on-premise devices and gain entry to those files, but that may allow threat actors to take over it too.
More and more, people have been turning instead to cloud storage. It has the benefits of being both convenient and accessible from anywhere, but it also requires a subscription and internet access. Cloud storage is not impenetrable (if you can access it from anywhere, so can dedicated hackers) but its security can be improved by relying on encrypted services with an iron reputation. Cloud services scramble your data into unreadable tokens, A.K.A. encrypt your data so that you can only access it with a passcode (and ideally some kind of multi-factor authentication on top of that).
This is yet another reason that it’s important to keep your passwords to yourself…and only yourself! The more people who can log into your Cloud storage (or any other account), the more chances for a cybercriminal to sneak or trick their way into your private data.
Backing up your data is like having insurance for your digital life! By following these guidelines, end users can effectively protect their valuable data from different unforeseen events.
Storage doesn’t seem like a big deal…until you REALLY need to find saved versions of old files! It’s a small investment that can save you from a lot of headaches in the future.