Data backup is no longer an enterprise task. With everything from photos, important documents (hello tax season), music, movies and more going digital…keeping everything safe should be on your radar.
When it comes to your data, if it’s not in more than one place it’s not a backup.
If you only move all your photos to an external hard drive, it’s not a true backup. Moving files to an external hard drive is a good start, but if that drive fails, you’ve lost all those memories. With the dropping cost of hard drives, you can backup your data to multiple drives. Don’t want to keep track of multiple hard drives? We now have internet (aka cloud) based backup solutions instead or to supplement your backup strategy. Some of these options include:
Backups are exclusively kept on physical media (external hard drives, DVDs, CDs, etc…)
Backups are synced to internet based services or your own personal server(s).
A copy on a server and a copy on an external hard drive can give you the best of both worlds
Automation is a life saver
In the legendary words of Ron Popiel – “set it and forget it.” If you have an automatic backup solution, not only do you save the time spent manually copying files, you also don’t have to remember to backup your files. Try some of these tactics:
Internet Based Backup
Services that you can schedule to back up either your entire computer or specific files and as long as your computer is on and accessible your data will be copied and backed up to remote servers. Cloud storage providers such as Amazon Cloud Drive, Drop Box, Google Drive, OneDrive, and iCloud let you sync your files to them. Backup services such as IDrive, CrashPlan, Backblaze, SOS Online Backup, Carbonite, and more let you automatically backup your files.
External Hard Drives
With the help of automation programs you can have backups triggered at scheduled times or whenever the hard drive is attached to your computer cloning either your entire computer or specific files. You can schedule these tasks automatically in Windows via the Control Panel and on Mac’s via Time Machine built into both operating systems for free.
Network Attached Storage
With many routers now coming with USB ports and the necessary software built in, you can now attach an external hard drive to your router or buy a dedicated NAS solution to backup your data. This operates similarly to the internet based solutions but instead your data is sent to an external hard drive on your network. You can schedule these tasks automatically in Windows via the Control Panel and on Mac’s via Time Machine built into both operating systems for free. Some NAS systems also come with built in backup tools as well.
This is for the more advanced users. With an extra computer (can be from an older replaced computer to a high end dedicated solution) you can setup your own server and backup files to it similarly to the internet based options, external hard drives, and NAS setups with the right software.
My Backup Setup
I personally use the hybrid method. I have my data copied to an external hard drive and an internet based solution.
I periodically copy all my files to an external hard drive I have attached to my home network.
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