A short guide to backing up

Have you ever lost an important document you created on your computer or had a moment of panic because you thought you had? If the answer to these questions is yes, then you will understand the importance of backing up your data. Hard drive fail, accidental deletion, natural disaster, theft, ransomware, malware — they can happen to anyone and destroy all your work in an instant.

Man backing up computer.
Image by Deemerwha studio on Adobe Stock.

What is a backup?

A backup is a copy of all your important files which instead of being stored in one place, is copied and stored somewhere else. Easy huh? However, World Backup Day, an independent initiative that raises awareness about backups and data preservation states:

  • 21% of people have never made a backup 
  • 113 phones are lost or stolen every minute 
  • 29% of data loss cases are caused by accident
  • 30% of all computers are already infected with malware. 

If this sounds like you but you do not know where to start, keep reading for a brief guide to backing up.

Man backing up computer.
Image by Deemerwha studio on Adobe Stock.

USB stick

A USB stick (also known as a flash drive, thumb drive or pen drive) is a portable storage device. When a user plugs the device into the USB port on their computer, the computer’s operating system recognises the device as a removable drive, similar to CDs, DVDs, SD cards and floppy disks and assigns it a drive letter. To backup your files, simply insert the USB stick into a computer and drag the files you want to backup from you computer onto the USB stick.

External hard drive backup

An external hard drive, also known as a portable hard drive, is a device that is connected to the outside of a computer through a USB connection. Available with various storage capacities, an external hard drive works in the same way as a USB stick.

Online backup services

An online backup is when your data is copied to an ‘off-site’ or cloud backup service, running on the Internet, instead of locally on your computer and accessed through a web browser or mobile apps. Online backup services should not be confused with cloud storage systems such as Google Drive or Dropbox, which require you to upload individual folders or files to their cloud backup services manually.

Backing files up to the cloud means they are available anytime, anywhere. Unlike a USB stick or external hard drive, an online backup cannot be lost or damaged and because the backup is not stored in the same location as the original files, an online backup is a particularly secure backup method.

Network attached storage (NAS)

Network Attached Storage (NAS) is a storage device connected to a network that allows authorised users to store and retrieve data from a central location. NAS devices are simply containers for hard drives and they use a technology called Redundant Array of Independent Disks (RAID), meaning they can distribute and duplicate stored data across multiple hard disks and that redundancy ensures data resilience in the case of any failed drives.

Woman backing up computer.
Image by Miha Creative on Adobe Stock.

When was the last time you backed up your files? Take the opportunity before you forget to backup your files today.


Further information

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