How to backup your computer
We all know that data failure or hacks can happen at any time. Also, at the back of our minds, we all know that we should back up our data. It's essential to our peace of mind. In this era, a software bug can delete all our files, or a virus could take control of all our files. The ugly truth is you risk losing all your applications and data forever if you don’t have a computer backup.
A computer backup doesn't have to be complicated. This was the case a while back, but now there are so many software, hardware, and backup services available to make the process seamless. The best strategy against malware, software issues, and hardware failure is having a backup of your entire system.
What is a good computer backup?
A backup means having a second copy of your vital data in a safe place. Your original emails, family photos, financial records, applications, and other documents should have another copy readily available if anything happened to your computer.
Computer backup experts recommend following the 3:2:1 rule. It means you have three copies of your relevant information, two copies on different devices, and one offsite copy. In short, you should have the original data on your computer, another on an external hard drive, and the third on the cloud. As a result, if your computer crashes, your house burns down with your backup hard drive all in the same day, the internet will have you covered.
Factors to consider when choosing a computer backup system
- Ease of the backup system setup
- Costs incurred
- Storage space available
- Data security
- The amount of time it takes to backup your data
- The ability to restore and recover data from the backup system
- Mobile or tablet accessibility to your information
Why have a computer backup system?
One little accident or system failure could destroy all your important information. According to World Backup Day, 113 phones are lost or stolen every minute, and one in every ten computers are infected with viruses monthly.
The internet has also given hackers access to our machines. They can encrypt our data and ask for a ransom in exchange for unencrypting the data. With a computer backup system, you quickly clean up your hard drive and use the backed up data.
Having a computer backup system saves you from that crushed feeling that comes when you realize all you have been working hard for or your cherished memories are gone. Data backup should be part and parcel of our cyber hygiene.
Types of computer backup solutions
Backup on an external drive
Your machine comes with an in-built backup feature that enables you to backup on a USB hard drive. An external hard drive is connected to your computer wirelessly or using cables. For Windows 8 & 10, use File History under the backup settings. For Windows 7, use Windows backup. You should occasionally connect your hard drive to your computer to keep it up to date. If you are on a Mac, use Time Machine to back up data on an external flash/hard drive.
It is one of the cheapest ways to backup data. It is also portable so you can carry it with you whenever you want to.
Backup on the cloud
Backup experts will tell you this isn't precisely backup but cloud storage. However, it serves the same purpose for most people. Instead of storing your data on a hard drive, you use a cloud storage service like Dropbox, Microsoft OneDrive, Google Drive, among others. Your online account automatically syncs to your PC, and data is stored on an ongoing basis.
The major con is that most cloud storage services offer very little gigabytes freely. So unless you are ready to add some extra amount for storage, then you can only backup small size files.
Backup on the internet
The internet offers computer backup services like Backblaze, Carbonite, among others, like CrashPlan for small businesses. These services have a web storage system that uses software that runs in the background of your machine to backup files. You can quickly restore the data if anything happens to the original. The initial backup takes a long time, especially if you have many files; however, the software updates the information continuously after that.
If you delete a file on your computer, an internet backup service deletes it after a month. You won’t be able to retrieve the 30 days are over.
Remember that one computer backup is not enough. You always have an onsite and offsite backup system. Have an external hard drive as well as an internet or cloud service. The best thing to do is automate your computer backup system. Just do your initial setup once and forget about it. This way, if your computer fails, you will always have up-to-date files.