There’s a day for everything. In this case, Wednesday, March 31st is World Backup Day. If you’re worried that you need to get a card and flowers for your special data someone, relax. The only thing you need to do on world backup Day is keep your data safe with a dependable backup storage solution.
Why you need to backup your data
You might not put backups as a priority in your digital life. But the probability that you’ll find yourself wishing for a backup copy of your data is higher than you think. Here are the possible dangers for your data:
This is the most direct data loss situation you can face. And that is because, no matter how well made, every hard drive has a finite life span. Your hard drive may hold on for years past the expected life, but you do not want to depend on luck. Even a minor failure with one small segment of data storage can lead to catastrophic data loss.
I want to believe I am a savvy internet citizen, but I am as susceptible to hostile events as anyone else. I could find myself locked out of my own data by malicious actors. In that case, an up to date backup restores my access to my data without giving in to digital extortion.
You’ve done it. I’ve done it repeatedly. We have all deleted a file that eventually turns out to be much more important than you thought. Your sense of what qualifies as an important file in the moment may not match up with your future needs. I’m not advocating that you become a digital hoarder, but needing a deleted 4 year old receipt to answer the government’s questions about your taxes will make you reassess your digital archive routine.
Is cloud storage better than local storage
When you begin to plan your backup strategy, you will be faced with 2 different approaches. Here’s a quick look at both of them and what they offer. Cloud storage is convenient and easy to expand, but depends on your internet connection. While local storage is independent of your internet connection but less easy to expand. Keep in mind that you can opt to use both storage solutions, for added security. But with every additional backup solution you have, the complexity of maintaining up to date backups across all of them increases.
Online backups (also known as Cloud Storage)
This is a backup solution that puts convenience as a priority. And they are convenient, with simple setup and automatic backup to cloud storage of the folders and files you select. Unfortunately, the benefit of cloud storage is also its weak point: online connectivity. If you’ve been knocked offline, you have no access to your backup until you reconnect.
And you are limited by the upload speed of your internet connection. The speed limitation won’t matter for a simple word document, but if you’re backing up large files like high resolution photos or videos, speed will matter. And as an online service, your cloud backup has the risk of having its security compromised.
Local hard drive backup
Local storage can come in a variety of implementations: USB flash drive, internal hard drive, memory cards or external hard drives. For a more detailed rundown of all these options, you should check out the Storage solutions buying guide.
In terms of control and accessibility, a physical backup on an external hard drive is the best choice. I remember that copying a large amount of data to an external drive used to be a time consuming activity. The transfer speed of older USB ports, combined with the copy speed of a SATA hard drive, meant you would start the copy process and walk away from the computer for a few hours.
But with USB 3.0 and solid state hard drives, the time needed to do a backup has dramatically decreased. Using an SSD like the Samsung Portable SSD T5, you can easily and quickly clone your entire hard drive if that’s the level of comprehensive backup you desire.
And if you’re serious about maintaining a reliable backup, you’ll have a second drive that you send offsite. I don’t want to talk about doom and disaster, but something like a house fire that destroys your PC would also destroy the backup in the same location. By keeping a second copy of your data in a separate location, you increase your ability to weather a disastrous scenario and get back to functionality sooner.
Plan to keep your data safe
Your data security depends on having a good plan that you consistently follow. The best external hard drive in the world won’t save you if you haven’t updated the backup in months. So look at what data you consider irreplaceable, how frequently you need to update the backup copies, and how much storage you’ll need to keep your data fully backed up. If you’re looking for more information, the Geek Squad experts have put together a detailed explainer: March 31 is World Backup Day