HomeTechHacker: Why And How to Back Up Your Computer

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

By Marlon Buchanan

Have you recently backed up your important home videos, photos, financial, and other important documents? 

If the answer is no then you are at risk of losing your files to hard drive failures, ransomware, theft or even accidentally deleting a file. The best way to protect yourself from these problems is to implement a proper backup strategy for your important files.

Before we get into the details of a proper backup strategy, let's discuss three different types of backups.

Synology Networked attached storage device
Local backups

Copying your files to a second place somewhere in your home is considered a local backup. This can be as simple as copying your files to a separate directory or hard drive on your computer. 

A better idea would be to buy an external hard drive that you store backups on. 

Even better (and more expensive) would be a networked attached storage (NAS) device like the ones made by Synology and QNAP.

Back up to the cloud

Cloud storage is a very competitive business with a lot of options, both free and paid. OneDrive and iCloud offer 5 GB of free storage. while Dropbox offers 2 GB of free space. Google Drive offers a whopping 15 GB of free storage, but that includes your Google Photos and Gmail storage. 

You can install apps on your computers and mobile devices to automatically backup important files to these cloud accounts. These services can become expensive if you have a lot of data to back up.

Backup to the cloud
Remote backup

The primary goal of cloud backup solutions like OneDrive, Dropbox, and Google drive is to keep your files synced across multiple machines and devices, thereby providing access anywhere. 

Remote backup systems are best if you’re concerned about backing up large amounts of data at a reasonable price. Popular cloud backup services include Backblaze, Spideroak, and IDrive. 

All of these solutions come with software you can install on your PC(s) and schedule automated backups so you don’t even have to think about it. Some of these solutions have apps that will back up your mobile devices too!

3-2-1: A good backup strategy

Good backup strategies involve keeping multiple copies of your data in multiple places. The more copies of your data, the less risk of data loss. A popular backup technique is the 3-2-1 backup strategy which stands for:
  • 3 copies of your data
  • 2 local copies on 2 different devices (original and backup)
  • 1 offsite backup
To accomplish this, you would combine the local backups with cloud and/or remote backups. 

For example, you could have a process that backs your computer up to an external hard drive or NAS frequently and then performs a daily remote backup. 

Some cloud backup services have direct integration (usually browser-based web apps) with popular NAS providers to make this process even easier.

It’s important to automate whatever backup strategy you choose. Reliable backups are critical and having to remember to backup a file is unreliable. 

There are software and apps available for Windows and Macs to automate remote and local backups as well as sync to the cloud.

Don’t wait until you’ve lost data and it's too late. Start backing up your files today.

Marlon Buchanan is an author, IT Director, and founder of HomeTechHacker.com, a website with free resources to help you make the most of your home technology.


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