“Back up your files daily!” It’s sage advice that we’ve all heard -- and, more likely than not, ignored -- at some point. Many believe it’s too time-consuming or simply unnecessary. Not so, which is why we’re here to debunk these myths and help you find the right way to protect your data.
Myth No. 5: Thinking Nothing Will Happen to Your Files
So you just bought a computer and it’s in great condition. Why worry? It isn’t going to grow legs and crawl off with your data, is it? Actually, it might -- with a little nefarious help. Laptops remain a prime target for theft at airports and college campuses. And if your computer disappears, so does all of your hard work -- unless it’s backed up elsewhere.
Aside from avoiding this scenario, backing up your files to the cloud (that is, uploading them online) allows you to store data offsite and download your documents anywhere you have Internet access. Just make sure this storage provides a secure connection; ordinary email doesn’t.
Myth No. 4: Believing USB Drives Are the Only Answer
USB flash drives can be quite handy. They’re small enough to slip into your pocket and carry anywhere. But -- and here’s strike one -- that strength can also be their weakness, since these diminutive drives offer limited capacity. If you need to back up several large files, you’re out of luck.
Plus, USB drives are very easy to misplace. Many wind up in the laundry via your pants pocket. Will that spreadsheet file you worked on for three days be rinsed clean along with your socks? Maybe it will; maybe it won’t. But it happens. And speaking of forgetfulness, unless you remember to always manually connect the drive, you won’t have the backup you need later. (That’s strike two.)
Myth No. 3: Depending Completely on Your Hard Drive
A hard drive can be unpredictable. Some offer years of dependable service; others die after only a few months. Unless a working crystal ball arrived with your computer, it can be difficult to guess when your drive’s time is nearly up.
And even if your drive is perfectly humming along, an electrical spike to your equipment (or a sudden drop with a laptop) can wipe it clean in seconds, taking all of your digital photos with it. Storing your data securely at an offsite location can avoid this altogether.
Myth No. 2: Relying Completely on a Manual Backup
Whether it’s an unexpected meeting pulling us away from our files, or simple late-night forgetfulness, backing up our data is something that slips everyone’s mind at some point. And invariably, this always seems to happen right after we complete a huge project, followed by some computer glitch.
No one’s memory is infallible. Look for a backup solution that doesn’t require you to initiate it. (It’s easier than finding a working time machine.)
Myth No. 1: Assuming Daily Backups Are Too Difficult
This is often the biggest myth of all. Backing up your files daily requires no effort at all if you have the right tools. If you don’t want to bother with an external drive, you can install software that will back up everything. This allows you to completely forget about it -- until you need that backup.