You have a lot of digital data and protecting your information is crucial. The threat of theft, equipment failure, or even just an accident is all too real, so taking steps to safeguard your digital data is necessary. Understanding and deciding to protect your data is the first step, but protecting your information can be challenging. There are many options, so knowing which is suitable for you and your situation can be tricky. Here is what you need to know to select the proper data backup for you.
Why Backup Your Data?
So much of our personal and professional business is conducted online, which generates many files and information. From contact info for all of the people in your life to family photos, recordings of that funny thing your dog did, financial and tax forms, projects for school or work, and so much more can all be found on your electronic devices. Some of this information is not important, but a lot of it is essential, and it would be very upsetting and possibly even catastrophic to lose it.
A data backup solution, or simply saving your files to a separate device or location is a solution that keeps your digital data safe and accessible. Whether you need last year’s tax return or an email about a group project, the right data backup solution will ensure you have what you need.
Types of Data Backup
There are lots of possibilities when it comes to saving your digital data. Each option offers different advantages, so it is best to understand what you need before deciding.
Flash drives are the most common example of removable media, although they go by many names, including jump drives, thumb drives, and pen drives. Removable media is an excellent solution for moving files between different devices. Flash drives are a good option if you want a backup for a limited number of files. For instance, if you are working on a project for school or work, you may want to keep all of the related files on a single flash drive.
Backing up your files to CDs and DVDs is a possibility, but it is worth noting that not all new devices include optical drives. Backing up important files to a DVD is not helpful if your next computer does not have an optical drive to enable you to access the files. This is not to say you shouldn’t store important files on discs, but be mindful that you may need to move things around depending on your next computer or laptop.
Removable media is generally not a good option when you want to back up many files or large files due to storage limitations. A flash drive will typically have less capacity, meaning it is not ideal for entire photo albums or multiple large files.
External Hard Drives
If you are after more storage space, then an external hard drive may be the right fit. Just like an internal hard drive in a desktop or laptop can store files, an external hard drive provides space to archive data. An external hard drive will have more storage space than a flash drive, and each model is different, but you can easily find drives that offer 1TB or more. Simply connect the external drive to your device via a USB cable and you can quickly move or retrieve files.
External hard drives are generally compact, but they are larger than flash drives. While a flash drive will usually weigh a few ounces, an external hard drive may weigh about a pound or more. The size and weight may not matter if you intend to only use the external hard drive at home. If you travel with your device to move files between home or work, the size and weight will be more relevant.
Network Attached Storage (NAS) is another option, which is more common for offices and work setups. Although, setting up a home drive system is becoming easier and is a possibility for home use.
Cloud storage allows you to save important files and documents on a secure server managed by a service provider. A serious benefit of Cloud storage is that you can access your files on any logged-in device as long as you have internet access. You can pull up a file at the office on your work desktop or your smartphone while you are out running errands or any place. Your data is always accessible, and Cloud storage facilitates easy collaborating and sharing.
Cloud storage often requires an ongoing expense. There is no further expense for removable media and external hard drives beyond the initial purchase price. Service providers for Cloud storage offer different capacity options that typically require a monthly fee.
Find the Right Option
Data backup can come in many forms, and when you are looking for the right option for your situation, it depends on several factors. The size of the files you need to backup and how you want to access them are usually the primary factors to consider. Once you understand what you need, you can find the proper storage solution for your files.