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Top tips for backing up your data

Thursday, September 5, 2013
courtesy of securingthehuman.org  

Backups are one of the most important things you can do to protect your data from hard drive failures, accidental deletions, stolen/lost devices, or malware infections. Follow these top tips to keep your data safe:

1. Choose what to back up

Just backing up important documents, pictures, research results, etc. takes less space and time but can be slower to recover. Backing up your entire system, including the operating system and installed apps, takes longer but makes it easier to recover from a complete loss.

2. Pick your media

You can use physical media, the cloud, or both:

  • External hard drives - lots of capacity, re-usable, reliable.
  • DVD-R or CD-R - reliable if stored properly, not reusable (RW versions are reusable a finite number of times).
  • USB drives - cheap, re-usable, but not very reliable.
  • The Cloud (Iron Mountain, Mozy, DropBox, SkyDrive, etc.) - stored remotely via the Internet, can be automated. Depending on the provider, this might be a pay service, and it will require decent Internet bandwidth to work well.

3. Keep copies in more than one location

If you use physical media, make sure to store a copy in a different location (office, a relative's home, safe deposit box). That way if you suffer a house fire or other catastrophic loss, your backups will still be available.

Related Links

Personal Backup & Recovery - Sep 2013 issue of OUCH!