Despite keeping people entertained and connected, massive digitization of the population comes with a gaping flaw – your data can be wiped out instantly from a hard drive crash. No person is immune to crashes, grandparents are even routinely rocking out with with the latest smartphones and posting and sharing on Facebook. Photo printing is a rarity, e-book sales out preform the paper books, and schoolwork is being done on computers and tablets. Unless someone places a photo in a frame to display, all out data is staying in digital form. Our work, memories and entire lives are on those hard drives, yet a large portion of homes have no backups for the data on those drives.
If you are one of the many that have lost your data or had a computer stolen, then you know the anger and fear that quickly follows…hoping desperately to find that external drive or USB some of the data was copied to…a long time ago. You turn the house upside down before collapsing onto the couch and realize there is nothing left of your data.
Hopefully your hard drive is in good shape, but surprise failures do happen. The mechanical parts do not last forever, and even brand new drives can be damaged by a power surge. User error like deleting files accidentally, theft, or getting hit by a virus that destroys or holds your files ransom is always a risk. The last one can be very tricky. Most residential users are using applications like iCloud, Dropbox or OneDrive as their backup solution. They think if their hard drive crashes or gets stolen, they will just download the data from there. Regretfully, those handy applications are will not help if you are infected with ransomware. Almost as instantly as the malware infects your local files until pay up, those sync applications upload the infected data as well. Safe older versions of your data will no longer exist. This is because those applications are designed to give a constant mirror of your hard drive and not back it up.
Stop! Think for a moment about what you would lose if your hard drive failed right now. What is on your hard drive? Tax information, photos of children and grand-kids, warranties you have scanned, videos of first steps and school plays, maybe even your wedding day? Some losses are just inconvenient, like rebuilding a recipe collection or recreating your budget, but other losses can be heartbreaking. This is not a feeling we would wish on anyone!
What You Can Do
Used to be that only tech geeks would back up at home, but like all cool things, it went mainstream. As you may, or may not know, we recommend the 3-2-1 approach to backups of your data: 3 copies of data, with 2 local at your home and 1 should be offsite.
This usually means keeping your regular hard drive where data is now, one copy of files on a backup USB drive, and one that will automatically upload to the secure cloud when you add more files. This way the USB drive protects your data if the computer hard drive dies. The cloud copies protect you if something happens to the computer and USB drive, like fire, theft or flood. It is also a good idea to ensure the USB drive is unplugged afterwards, as a connected device can easily become infected during an attack or be stolen from a break-in.
Two of these methods actually require you to pay attention, and this is where many homes struggle. It is a rare household where someone will take the time to sit down every week and backup their data. It’s not tricky, but it is pretty boring and not a high priority in our busy lives. This is why I recommend a cloud backup solution or letting someone like me take care of it remotely.
You can retrieve files at will, without rolling back your entire drive, and have the peace of mind that even the smallest change to a file has been caught without you marking or flagging it in any form. What is even better is that since it is in the cloud, you can access your backup from anywhere. Did you leave a work file at home? No problem, it is in the cloud backup. On a vacation and need to check on some details or show off your great photos? No problem here, it is in the cloud backup. We can set you up with the perfect backup solution that will meet your requirements, especially during an emergency.
If you would like to protect your data before you lose it, or would like to discuss backups, just let me know or comment here.