If there is one thing that I wish everyone could be taught, it is the importance of backing up data. With so much of our lives taking place in the virtual world, a loss of data can be catastrophic. Photos, business documents, that video of your dog riding on a skateboard, it can all be gone in an instant if something happens to your computer or phone. Believe me, it’s not fun telling someone that their wedding photos have been lost forever, so don’t let it be you!
Thankfully, with the number of backup options available today, there is almost no excuse to not have a working backup. There tend to be two main types of backup; local (such as external drives or other storage media) or cloud based (such as iCloud).
A note on working backups, whatever backup you’re using. It isn’t just enough to have a backup that gets updated once a year and has never been tested. A backup needs to be regular, I would suggest at least once a month, if not once a week. Even once a day or continuously if you’re running a business with loads of important documents that are regularly updated. Various tools exist out there to run automatic backups, so it shouldn’t be an issue. I personally leave my computer on overnight on a Friday, and at 5:30AM Saturday morning, my entire photo library is backed up. It is also important to check that your backup works. That means testing it semi-regularly, at least every few months. There are many stories out there of people who have thought they were backing up, only to find out after a major data loss that the last retrievable backup was from a year ago, or that their iCloud had reached its 5GB limit six months ago without them ever noticing.
If you are running a business, it is also a good idea to have a second backup computer on hand so that should an issue arise with one of your computers, you can continue to keep running business as usual while you sort things out.
In the next part we will ask the question, “What backup solutions are out there?”