If you’re not already backing up data on your computer, it is time to get started. When so much of our lives and work exist in the digital space, it goes without saying that backing up data is just a sensible practice you’d be amiss not to get into the habit of doing.
Whether your device is misplaced, stolen, your hard disk cops out on you, or your computer becomes infected with ransomware, you want to know that you’re covered. If your files are all safely backed up, you’ll have peace of mind no matter what happens. There are plenty of ways to backup data on your computer, each with their own pros and cons.
Let’s take a look at the six best ways to backup data on your computer. Keep in mind that your best bet is to have at least two methods of backup.
1. Backup your data with a USB stick
USB sticks are the preferred method to backup data on your computer. They are affordable, easy to use, and small enough to fit in your pocket. Perfect for sharing files from one place to another, it is great that USB sticks are so portable, but it also means that they can be easy to lose.
Not to mention, there are increasing concerns being raised about exactly how many read/write cycles they’re actually able to handle. Regardless, USB sticks are super handy, and should definitely make up part of your data storage strategy, but they shouldn’t account for all of it.
2 Backup your data with an external hard drive
As the name implies, an external hard drive is just like the hard drive that exists inside of your computer, but this one lives independently and can be easily plugged into other sources. In general, they are quite cheap and give you all the storage you need if you’re dealing with larger files. This is one of the better ways to backup data on your computer.
That being said, they are vulnerable to some of the issues your computer might experience, like lost files due to a power surge or malware. All in all, if using an external hard drive for backup, it is best to use them for a specific purpose and not as am ‘extra every day hard drive’.
3. Backup your data with Time Machine
If you’re a Mac User, you have a special option called Time Machine that you can use to automatically store your data safely on an external hard drive. Apple sells its own brand of dedicated wireless Time Capsules, but you can use any hard disk for it. One of the nice things about using this method is that you know you’ll be automatically backed up after 24 hours.
You don’t have to worry about forgetting to stay up to date. It will also take care of backing up your entire drive, so you don’t have to go through the trouble of sifting through files. The biggest drawback here is likely the cost, as a dedicated wireless machine is fairly expensive and is only available to Mac users.
4. Backup your data with network attached storage
Many businesses use network attached storage to keep their files safe and sound. With an increasing number of homes having multiple computers, the idea has spread more widely. As they become more affordable, a dedicated wireless storage solution is becoming an available solution for any situation where there are multiple computers and a user is looking to save files from more than one source.
Your IT support can help you set up the network storage easily and securely. They are convenient, account for the risk of forgetting and work easily with phones and tablets. This isn’t the cheapest way to backup data on your computer, and they can also be a bit tricky to set up and maintain.
5. Backup your data with cloud storage
While you’re the primary holder with network attached storage, using cloud store essentially just means outsourcing the work to a third party. Here you have quite a few options, some are free, some paid, and some free with paid extras.
The biggest players in the game are iCloud, Dropbox, Google Drive and OneDrive, but there are definitely other options available. Although it is certainly appealing that at least some of the space tends to be free, it is important to remember that companies aren’t obliged to keep these services around forever.
6. Backup your data by printing it
Last but don’t least, let’s not forget the more traditional route of data storage that is done by printing. Notably less technical than any of the methods mentioned above, printing does offer you a hard copy of your most important documents that will even be able to survive power outages and are easy to store and access even if your computer is out of action for a few days.
The drawback of not being able to update your files is obvious, in addition to the fact that printing is less practical for larger documents and also isn’t very good for the environment.