HOW TO BACKUP YOUR PC

Why keeping a Backup is a Good Idea?

Your personal information is becoming entangled with digital devices more and more every day. This is due to the widespread use of technology. It has led to a certain dependency for personal use and work purposes. Users today keep most of their important personal data stored on their personal computer.

In case of any unwanted event or device malfunctioning, this information can be lost entirely. Such a loss could prove to be a disaster in case you want to recover the information. Suppose you keep important financial and other important record stored on your PC. If accidentally your PC stops functioning, then you can potentially lose a valuable sum of data. This is why your data holds real-life value today.

To prevent such an unwanted outcome, keeping a backup presents itself as an important option. If the user keeps a backup plan in place, a major risk would be minimized. A number of methods exist to help keep this backup plan in place.

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Users have traditionally used external hard drives and USB flash drives for such purposes. But, the rapid growth of the internet has also led to more options. Unlike the old physical methods of storing data, online storage presents several benefits. But, each method can be weighed against its pros and cons.

Whatever method is chosen should depend on your personal requirements. Along with the method, a smart strategy should also be made. Let’s get more into detail about how this can be achieved.

DIFFERENT WAYS OF BACKUP

A number of ways exist to help you back up your PC. The data that needs to be backed up is usually either personal data or work-related. Both kinds of data usually use different backup methods. This is because a business cannot risk valuable information being lost. This is why they can choose to go with a more costly route, but do not wish to take a risk. While, personal data is mostly less sensitive, and a cheaper option can be chosen.
The most efficient and popular methods of backup include external hard drives, cloud storage, disk cloning and Network Attached Storage (NAS). Let’s see how they can be used to back up your data.

External Drive Backups

External hard drives behave the same way as the hard drive on your computer. They act as physical storage devices capable of storing information up to a certain capacity. In case of a drive failure, you can always recover this information from the external drive.

Users are also presented by the option to manually choose the data they wish to backup from their PC. This can help utilize the limited storage space of the external hard drive. Users should also be careful about routinely backing up information on this drive. A backup to an external drive can be considered a local backup. This is because the external hard drive can be kept close at hand.

A backup program can be used to automatically backup data. But, users usually choose to manually choose the data they wish to save. Windows and MAC users are usually given the option to create an automated process for backups. Windows has its own built-in software to automatically create backups to external drives called Windows Backup. MAC users also have a similar option known as Time Machine.

External drives are plug and play devices. This means that no specific backup program is needed to back up to an external drive. Users can simply copy and paste individual files on the external hard drive from their Windows PC. This makes the method extremely simple and efficient.

However, external hard drives also present a number of disadvantages. For one, the storage medium is physical. This means that any potential harm could result in the data being lost. If the user is not aware of the damage to the external hard drive, the purpose could be lost. Another issue with external hard drives is the limited storage capacity. This means that in case the data is greater than the storage size, another external hard drive has to be purchased.

Disk Cloning

Similar to external hard drives, a ‘clone’ is used to create an exact copy of the same file as an image backup. The one-to-one copy created contains all of the settings of the original configuration. Cloning a hard drive for backup purposes helps copy the entire drive on to another drive.

The file created in a disk cloning process is a ‘system image’. The medium used for cloning can be a hard drive, DVD drive or any similar storage medium. When the clone is loaded on to the computer, the user recovers an exact copy of the original image.

To clone a disk, you will need the source and the secondary drive where you’ll copy the disk. Make sure that the secondary drive has enough space to copy all the contents of the source.
To copy the contents, you can use any backup tool that helps facilitate the cloning process. The software usually details several options available within the cloning process. The clone can generally be plugged in and booted into the new system.

The process might take some time because of the large volume of data involved. After the cloning process is completed, the software might ask you to schedule another one. For backup purposes, it is recommended to keep regular backups. This means that the primary source will always have new information. By regularly planning for updates on your clone, the risk of more data loss will decrease.

Clones can help in keeping a copy of the entire system as a backup. But, they present similar disadvantages to that of an external hard drive. In case of any malfunction or harm to the clone, the entire backup can be lost. Again, the goal of keeping a backup loses its purpose. Clones are also limited by storage space. This can present an issue of scalability.

Network Attached Storage (NAS)

A Network Attached Storage (NAS) can link several PCs together. As such, all of the connected systems can share a central storage platform. This creates a ‘network’ where multiple computers can see the files being transferred and saved.

As a method of backing up data, Network Attached Storage (NAS) can be advantageous. For one, it provides ease of access for multiple users. This means that the chances of another user having the file go up. The network is created over the internet usually over a Local Area Network (LAN).

When the data can be shared over a network such as with Network Attached Storage (NAS), the system acts as a private cloud. The backup method involves creating a copy of the files being shared over the private network. This makes the process highly automated. The system can also be created at an affordable cost.

A major disadvantage of a Network Attached Storage (NAS) is being sensitive to any outside disasters. In case of any harm to the physical network, the data can be lost.

Cloud Storage

Cloud storage is a model within cloud computing that makes use of the internet. Over an internet connection, users can upload valuable data online. Cloud storage provides a virtual space to keep the information preserved. As a method of keeping backups, it can be highly resourceful.

A number of cloud storage services help users store their personal information from the PC. The data stored on your computer is uploaded on the cloud. The information kept on the cloud storage service is backed up and can be accessed at any time. The data is stored on servers located in data centers. The cloud storage service is responsible for keeping these data servers maintained.

Other than helping keep information backed up, cloud storage provides easy access. Users can access the information stored on the cloud storage platform through a number of devices. This could be a mobile app, tablet or your personal computer.

To back up data from your PC to the cloud, you’ll first have to decide upon which online backup service you want to use. Google Drive, OneDrive and Dropbox are popular examples of cloud storage platforms. Usually, a backup program is not required to upload data from your PC. Users can manually choose the data they wish to upload.

Once the data is uploaded to the cloud, it can be accessed at any time. In case of data loss from the original source either due to the local drive fails or malfunctioning of PC, users can always backup and restore the data from the cloud. Unlike other physical storage mediums, as the cloud exists as a virtual space, it is more secure from such risk.

In a cloud storage platform, users can upload any kind of personal data such as photos videos or other private staff. But, if the storage space required is for business purposes and sensitive data is getting stored, then users are always recommended to subscribe to a cloud backup platform. A cloud storage platform is different from cloud backup platform. This is because the cloud backup platform is entirely dedicated to the backup process. In a cloud backup, your data is continuously being uploaded to the cloud servers from your PC automatically. So, instead of manually uploading data, this process is automated. It is very helpful for businesses that can’t afford the loss of data from any human mistake or PC malfunctioning.

Storage of data in cloud servers can be vulnerable to hacks over the internet. This is why users should choose a reliable and secure cloud storage platform.

KEEP MULTIPLE COPIES

Choosing a backup method isn’t enough. Users should also consider choosing a method of multiple back up of data in multiple PC systems that lower chances of data loss. This could be utilizing both offsite and onsite management of data. You can never be certain the data stored on one platform cannot be lost. By ensuring that you keep multiple copies, your data is always us secure.

You can follow a strategy of efficiency by keeping 3 copies of the same file. While you have these 3 copies, at least two should be in different storage mediums. This ensures that if the medium is harmed, the other is still there. Out of these 2 copies, make sure one is saved on the cloud. This guarantees that the data is always secure in case of any incident in your surroundings.

Users can also keep multiple copies in different cloud storage platforms. If your file is available on both Google Drive and Dropbox, the chances of data loss are thus lower.

MAKE SURE THE PROCESS IS AUTOMATED

Backing up the information on your PC should be a top priority. This means you should make sure that you perform regular backups. Manually choosing data to upload after a few days can also be frustrating. This is why an automated process by a cloud backup platform is quite helpful. It will ensure that if the user forgets to backup any valuable information, the system automatically does it. Some of the platforms will also make sure that the records of changes that have been made are also available as a file history. In case of any harm to the PC, the backup software will already have saved a copy on the cloud.

FINAL NOTE

In the end, your personal requirements will decide the method chosen. Several factors should be considered when choosing a backup plan for your PC. These could be storage space required, budget and performance. If the space required is large, users can opt for a cloud storage platform. This is because cloud storage platforms allow more storage size to be purchased. This helps in scaling according to budget.

If your data is not highly sensitive, it can also be stored on a physical storage medium. This could be a hard drive or a clone. However, the issue with such devices arises with storage size and chances of theft.

Businesses can choose a platform that meets their large storage requirements. This could be a cloud backup service or a number of external hard drives. If a business opts for using cloud backup platform, it should make sure that the backup method chosen follows an automated process of continuous backups to avoid any data loss.

Users should also keep multiple copies and use software that automatically saves data. This helps lower the risk of data loss. Your PC is a physical system capable of malfunction or theft. This is why it’s important to create a system of backup to keep your important files safe.