When it comes to protecting your data, the importance of backing up your computer frequently and diligently cannot be stressed enough. As our lives become increasingly more digital, the loss of files becomes even more important to prevent. Think of all the pictures, music, and records you have that only have a life on your hard drive right now.
Statistically, nearly a third of PC users will lose all of their files due to circumstances outside of their control. Don’t let yourself become a victim to data loss when easy and affordable backup options exist.
This article will cover the three types of backup options available to Mac and PC users: external hard drive backup, online backup services, and backup software.
External Hard Drive Backup
An external hard drive gives you a physical copy of your computer’s hard drive that you can immediately plug into another computer should yours crash. On a Mac, Time Machine is the standard program that will assist in backing up your data. When you plug in Time Machine, an exact replica of your hard drive is made onto the external hard drive you plug in. You can even go “back in time” to see what your hard looked like at earlier points in its life.
The same approach can be taken with a PC and an external hard drive. Make sure to store your external hard drive separately from your computer in case of fire or other disaster.
Online backup services typically connect to your computer once a day (or at whatever interval you specify), usually at night when the computer is not in use, to collect the data from your hard drive and transmit it to the service provider’s server. Nearly all of these companies work hard to ensure that the data is heavily encrypted during the transmission process to protect users from having their information pried into or stolen. These services are often affordable and can be safer than backing up with an external hard drive since the information is stored in a different place than your computer.
Backup software programs will create files that copy the contents of your computer so that data can be restored if the hard drive should crash. As technology has developed to make offsite storage more reasonable and affordable, this is probably the least desirable option for most users.
Whatever option you choose, start backing up your important data today!