After a while devices might stop working because they are defective, overused, or used improperly. Also, the most popular attack these days is called ransomware and involves locking your data to make you pay money. Unfortunately, in most of those cases, there is no way to recover the data, so it will be lost forever.
The best solutions for keeping your data safe is to keep a copy in a safe place, or in short to do a backup.
What kind of data should I backup?
There’s always the possibility to make a copy of every file you have in the computer, including all the apps and the operating system, but this is rarely necessary. The operating system and all the apps can be easily reinstalled, and many files are probably useless for you. The key is to backup those documents that hold valuable data and any personal picture or video that you want to keep as a memory. In this case the process will be fast, and the cost will be low.
Which are the solutions?
The simplest solution, but also the one that requires the most effort from the user is keeping a copy of your data on an external usb hard drive. To do so, you can use File History which comes bundled with Windows 10 and 8, or Windows Backup for Windows 7. You have to enter the setting panel from the Start menu, follow the steps below, and then chose the external storage device.
After you configure the app, all that’s left to do is regularly connecting the hard drive to the computer and your backup will be updated. Be careful not to leave the storage drive connected longer than needed because a ransomware will lock the data from every device. Also, don’t forget to add to the backup any folder that holds important data and wasn’t automatically added.
The best method is to use a cloud-based backup service, from where you can acces the data at any time. Furthermore, the data is stored in such a way that it can survive any technical problems, fires or even natural disasters. There are a few options, but the most widely known are Backblaze and Carbonite. Both come with easy to use user interfaces, advanced features for those who need them and prices that start from $5/month.
Another method is to use a Cloud Storage service like Google Drive, Dropbox, Box, or OneDrive. All of them offer most of the same functionality and are easy to use as a backup solution. While the prices are higher than service designed only for backup, these offer more functionality like syncing files between devices, file-sharing, or collaborative document editing.
If you have small amounts of data that you want to keep safe, you can use the free tier of the services above. Google Drive comes with 15GB of free storage and Dropbox and Box with 10GB each.
Can I use more than one backup solutions in the same time?
It is possible and recommended to do so. Ideally you should have a backup locally on an external drive and one in the cloud, or at least the most important data stored in the cloud.
How can I backup my smartphone?
For both Android and Apple smartphones, the backup methods are similar. Your contacts and Wi-Fi passwords are automatically saved on the account you used to activate the phone, and for anything else you can use Google Drive or Dropbox.
If you follow these steps, your data will be safe and you will be prepared in case of an unfortunate event.