For a long time I’ve been happily living in the moment – computer-wise. But recently, a little voice in the back of my minds says “Wouldn’t it be terrible if your computer crashed? You’d lose all your work, everything”.

That reminder to backup my computer is pertinent now more than ever because a few weeks ago my parents found out the price, both emotionally and physically, of not backing up their laptop. Without a backup, standard and advanced recovery options didn’t work and the cost to pay a forensic data recovery firm to recover the data was just too high.
For anyone, trying to retrieve files from a broken computer can be incredibly costly and if unsuccessful, heart breaking. For a business it can be a huge loss in financially in terms of cost of downtime and recovery.

Backup devices and the CloudSo what does backing up your computer mean? The process of backing up refers to making exact copies of the files on your laptop or computer, however the important thing is that these copied files aren’t saved in the same place as the originals. So where can we save them?

There are two main methods of backing up your computers files. The most traditional way would be to back up using an external hard drive. External hard drives can be bought with a varying amount of storage space depending on what you need. Once purchased, you will need to periodically save new files onto the hard drive to ensure you’re not at risk of losing them. Saving the files can be done manually – using windows drag and drop/copy and paste or by using software to automate the process.

Cloud InternetThe second method of backing up, which is increasingly popular is cloud based systems. Cloud based systems run on the principle of storing all your files on the Internet. All of the big companies provide storage space that can be used for backups – Google drive, Apple’s ICloud, Microsoft’s OneDrive and Sharepoint to name the obvious ones. Whilst these offerings are not technically backup services, they are a better substitute than nothing. There are other potentially less well known cloud backup providers who provide a true backup service. Using Cloud backup highlights the cloud’s biggest advantages – you can access your files anywhere without the need of carrying around a physical hard drive. Like everything, it does have its disadvantages as well as advantages – as does backing up to an external drive.

With the recent loss of all data that my parents have had, I hope that you, like me, will resolve this new year to make it your New Year’s resolution to back up your computer on a regular basis to minimise the risk of losing all the files most important to you.