Backing up important files is the best way to keep from losing them if your dog chews on your computer case, someone punches your laptop, or a hacker holds your files for ransom. (and yes, those are all real examples from our shop) This guide will help you consider some of the most popular back up options — external hard drives, flash drives, discs, the cloud, and remote backup servers — and determine which one is right for you.
External hard drives are basically laptop hard drives housed in their own small cases. These cases have no shock protection and no temperature control, so knocking one off a desk or running it for too long can cause failure or data loss. You can prolong the life of your external hard drive by using it rarely (once a week or once a month) and by only accessing the data when you need to restore your files. External hard drives can store large amounts of data. A 1 tb (that’s one terabyte) external hard drive costs about $60. As the storage capacity rises so does the price.
Conclusion: External hard drives are the best choice if you have large amounts of data that you do not have to access often.
Flash Drives are small re-writable storage devices that plug into a USB port. They come in a wide range of storage sizes, from 512 MB versions costing less than $20 to deluxe options costing nearly $1000. Flash drives are small enough to be carried on a keychain or lanyard and are robust enough to survive being dropped or thrown in a bag. I even put once through the laundry once (note: It worked, but I don’t recommend it)
Conclusion: Flash Drives are the most versatile and most portable option.
CDs and DVDs store smaller amounts of data. A standard CD stores about 700MB of data and can be purchased in bulk for about $10 per 100 discs. DVD’s store more data about 4.7GB and cost about $20 per hundred. They are easy to use and don’t take up much storage space. Scratching is a concern, so you should always make sure the discs are stored properly.
Conclusion: Discs work best for small volumes of data that you need to access regularly.
When you back up to the cloud, your data is uploaded to secure servers on the internet. It can be accessed from anywhere you have an internet connection. Many companies offer this service for a range of pricing. Free options include Google Drive and Apple iCloud and Dropbox. With paid options you get more storage, usually for a monthly fee. Though these trusted companies do everything they can to protect your data, hacking is still a possibility, so the cloud may not be the best option for sensitive information.
Conclusion: Cloud storage is best if you have a reliable internet connection and your data is not confidential.
Remote Backup is the easiest solution for you since it requires no effort beyond the initial setup. A technician helps you chose the files you want to back up and then schedules a daily, weekly, or monthly backup. Your information is sent over the internet to a secure server. Cost for this varies depending on the amount of information you want to back up.
Conclusion: Remote Backup is best if you want regular backups but don’t want to have to remember to do them. It’s a great hands-off solution.
For questions on backup options or to set up a remote backup plan call Technology Solutions at 207-368-2880.