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How to safely back up your computer: Things you need to know

Computer Backup

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TechGenYZ is one of the best sources for technology news, and I’m honored that I can reach out to all their devoted readers to talk about something very important to me: internet security. For more great info on this, you can check out this article on sharing blocked Twitter accounts or read about a new option for social media graphics in this article on Adobe Post.

Regularly backing up your computer’s data is a very important habit to develop. Many people are surprised to hear this from a security blogger, but having a plan for the worst case scenario should be a part of any security set-up. There are always hackers out there who are one step ahead of the game, and no matter how good your security system is, there is always a risk that your computer will be infected with malware and your files will end up damaged.

Backing up your computer is not just a security issue, however. Making it a habit will also protect you from the possibility of hardware failure, loss or theft, damage or accidental deletion. If your computer isn’t safely backed up, you need to fix that ASAP.2

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What types of back up are available? You have lots of options when you’re backing up your computer: let’s take a tour.

1. Think about scale

First, you need to choose the scale of your back up. This can range from a particularly important project saved on a USB drive, to creating a copy of your entire computer. Since everyone should do periodic large-scale backups, that’s what we’re going to deal with throughout the rest of this article.

Even then, there are a few different options.

2. Hardware or the cloud?

Secondly, you need to choose where you’re going to store this information. You have two basic options: on hardware or in the cloud. There are advantages or disadvantages to either, and a perfect security system would use both. After all, having secure extra copies will only increase your protection. In security terms, this is called redundancy, and it’s very important.

External hard drives are getting increasingly more affordable, meaning you can get enough space to hold all of your data and then some. However, they’re still vulnerable to damage. If you plan to use an external hard drive to hold your back up, this guide on configuring automatic backups in Windows 7, 8 and 10 should give you all the information you need.

If you make sure to go with a secure provider, cloud back up can be a perfect choice. There is no risk that a physical object will become damaged, lost or obsolete, and they can be used to synchronize data across devices. Online backup solutions have security as a priority and will always encrypt your information so that it cannot be accessed by hackers while it’s stored.

However, cloud back up services will usually bill you monthly, meaning that the one-time purchase of an external hard drive may be cheaper in the long run. They also force you to rely on an internet connection, which might affect your decision.

Some of the most reliable options include iDrive, CrashPlan, SpiderOak, Mozy and OpenDrive. Note that whenever you’re transporting sensitive data over the internet, you need to remember to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN). VPNs were invented for remote workers, but are now put to multiple uses. At its core, a VPN creates a secure tunnel from the source of information to its destination, meaning that it will prevent your information from getting hijacked on the way to its new home in the cloud. You can also use it to remove geo-blocking from websites such as Netflix or stay anonymous when torrenting. In general, a VPN will always help to keep you safe and prevent others from collecting your information. As a security aficionado, I highly recommend them!

3. Use local backups

Local computer backup cost nothing and don’t require any extra items. These are good for those cases where your hardware is undamaged, but your information gets lost.

Back up your information regularly and automatically. A good security system will always account for human error. Ideally, your computer backup system will work without relying on your memory. If you have a desktop computer, it’s pretty easy to leave your external hard drive plugged in, but if you have a laptop, your back up strategy may involve the cloud so you don’t have to remember to plug in a hard drive. Was this a wake-up call? Are you going to take the time to back up your computer ASAP, or are you already on top of it? Let us know in the comments below!

How to safely back up your computer: Things you need to know