It’s likely that you have tons of files stored on your computer, most of which you won’t be able to find again if your PC crashes. So why not keep a backup or two? Backups can save you a lot of stress, especially if you’re using an unsecured computer or ever want to update your operating system (Windows 10, anyone?).
If your computer isn’t secure, you could quickly lose all of your files when a hacker strikes (it’s more common than you think). On the other hand, when you’re updating your operating system, there’s a chance that the update could fail, and you will be required to reformat. Unfortunately, reformatting means that your data will be wiped clean.
When you have backups of your files, you needn’t worry too much about any of this, so let’s look at some options in regard to backing up your computer.
One option is to use an external hard drive, flash drive or SD card to back up some of your files. The problem with this option is that sometimes these pieces of hardware can become corrupted over time, so there’s no guarantee that your data will always be available on these when you need it. Another issue is that you won’t be able to back up certain things onto a flash drive or SD card, though they are the least expensive option when it comes to hardware to store your files on.
It’s probably a good idea to keep these devices around either way, as you’ll never know when you’ll need your files on hand while you’re on the go. Of course there’s always the option of using Dropbox or Google Drive, but hardware can come in handy when there’s no internet connections around. You might want to utilize these, as well as some of the other options available, as it’s always best to keep more than one copy of your data around.
Cloud Storage Services
Internet related storage options are always a good idea. It’s not likely that your files will disappear off of these sorts of services. There are many to choose from, some of which are free, but they all offer their own stipulations.
Two of the most popular Cloud storage services are Dropbox and Google Drive. By default, Google Drive offers you more storage space compared to Dropbox, but both services will allow you to purchase more space if necessary. Another thing that they have in common is that they both feature an easy to use drag and drop interface.
When it comes to backing up your files, you won’t go wrong with either of these services. They both work great and allow you to keep your files private or share them with others. You can also keep your data organized in folders, so you’ll have an easier time figuring out where everything is.
As far as how you can actually use these to back up your files, here’s a how to guide for Dropbox, and one for Google Drive. As with the hardware options, you will never want to rely on these services alone; always have your files backed up on more than one of these options so that if one fails, you’ll have the other.
Even though both of these services are a good choice and allow you to easily back up your files, they aren’t the most affordable services out there. Yes, they offer a certain amount of space for free (2GB for free from Dropbox and 15GB from Google Drive to be exact), but if you need more, you might end up spending a pretty penny on their service. Dropbox is by far more affordable than Google Drive, but there’s an even better option available that is both easier and more affordable.
Yet another cloud storage service, Backblaze offers a great backup service for only $5 per month. You get unlimited space with no limits on file size for that price, and the backups are done automatically instead of manually, which can save you some time and effort. Additionally, you’ll be able to back up your external hard drives without having to pay an extra fee.
Backblaze is available for both Mac and Windows, and even has a mobile app for your smartphone that you can use to access your files. With this service, you won’t have to worry about remembering to back up your files because of it has automatic backups by default. However, you can change the frequency of the backups or set Backblaze to only backup when you click the button on their application.
If you decide that there are any files you don’t want Backblaze to back up, you can easily change your settings to exclude them as well. This service is also more secure than the average cloud based storage service, as it can locate your lost or stolen computer for you. An added bonus is that Backblaze offers a free, 15-day trial (no credit card required!), so you really have nothing to lose by giving them a try.
Safety When Backing up Files
Hardware is the safest option to back up your files, but anything can come with its own share of risks. With hardware, you mostly risk the chance of someone taking off with it or the possibility that you might misplace it somewhere. When it comes to safety, anything done online is the least secure option though, which makes it important for you to know how to avoid any security issues when utilizing cloud based storage services.
Since your personal information is at stake here, you’ll want to make sure your internet connection is secure before you start using any of the cloud services. With the growing prevalence of identity and data theft, you’ll be glad that you took the proper security steps before putting your information out there. So how can you ensure security on your computer?
The best software you can use for this is a Virtual Private Network (VPN) because it will keep you anonymous while you’re online. In basic terms, a VPN is a remote server that is encrypted, and when you connect to it, your internet traffic is routed through its server. This hides your location and makes it extremely hard for your connection to be hacked (think nine years of attempting to crack the encryption), deterring any hackers. If you have a VPN, you can safely access and back up your files from anywhere.
Never Lose Your Data Again
Backing up your files is a wise choice, as is securing your connection. Doing both will save you a lot of hassles in the long run, and most importantly, it’ll keep you safe. It’s common to store bits of personal information and even photos of yourself or your family on your computer, so don’t let it fall into the hands of those with malicious intent.
Lastly, don’t forget to keep multiple backups, as you’ll never know when you might need to have your files on hand!