The Best Methods for Backing Up Your Data

Hard drives are high-precision instruments in charge of storing our data files. Many of these data files probably can't be reproduced, such as personal digital photos and videos. Unfortunately, many people don't think about backing up their data until it is too late. A hard drive crash can happen at any time, which can cause a loss of data, so thinking about how you backup your data is important.

There are many methods that you can employ to backup your data, and with current technology, the backup process can be scheduled to automatically run at a specific time. This means that in the middle of the night, you can automatically have your data backed up.

Golden Rules for Backing Up Data

There are a two golden rules to keep in mind when you do create a backup plan. The rules are as follows:

  1. Always make multiple backups of your data. Much like your master copy, the backup copy could be lost because of a hard drive crash, media corruption, or accidental deletion. You shouldn't rely on just one backup copy for your files.
  2. Store your backup copies in different physical locations. Ir something were to happen to one location, such as a fire or natural disaster, you won't lose your data and your backed up files.

By following the above rules, you can ensure that you will always have a backup copy of your data whenever you need to restore your files. As for actually backing up your data, there are several methods that can help follow the above rules.

5 Methods of Backing Up Your Data

To comply with the above rules, there are several methods that you can employ to help backup your data easily. While there may be an investment to some of the methods, the cost is minimal, especially compared to keeping your data safe.

1. External Hard Drives

When it comes to backing up data, external hard drives are probably the most popular option. Any external hard drive can be used by any computer and operating system, and are fairly cheap compared to the amount of storage space. There are even portable hard drives, which are smaller than regular external hard drives, that can easily be transported to another location. By utilizing multiple portable hard drives, you can make multiple copies of your data and store them in different locations.

2. Optical Discs

Optical Discs, such as CD/DVD/blu-ray, have also been a popular choice for storing data. They are easy to find in stores and are very cheap - with the exception of some blu-ray discs. Optical discs don't have the storage capacity of an external hard drive, but are small enough to carry around so they can be stored in other locations. The one thing to keep in mind with regards to the discs is that they can become unreadable over time. It is important to always choose high-quality discs, or archival discs, when backing up your data to ensure that you will be able to read your data in the future.

3. Network Server

The cost of owning, and running, a server has decreased over the past few years. Even an old desktop can function as a network storage server, and many people have been implementing them on their home networks. If you maintain multiple computers at home, it may be a good idea to use a network server to store data from all computers. You would just need to backup the one server to backup all the data for your computers.

4. USB Flash Drives

While not traditionally considered a backup medium, using a flash drive for backing up data can work as well as an external hard drive. They are very small - people carry them around everywhere - and can contain a good amount of storage space. The longevity of the data stored on a USB flash drive has been mentioned as 10 years, but that has yet to be officially confirmed.

5. Online Storage

Storing data files online is something that has been talked about more and more in recent years. With the increase in high speed Internet connections, storing data in the "cloud" is becoming a truly viable option. All places that offer online data storage go through great lengths to keep your data safe, and most provide an application that allows you to automatically backup your data behind the scenes. The best part is that your data is stored in a different location than your master data, and that you can access your data any place that has an Internet connection.

There are probably many other methods that you can use to properly backup your data - ensuring that you follow the two golden rules stated above. The method you choose, however; should work for you so it is easy to keep your data safe and secure.

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