InfoSec Blog - Backing Up Isn't Hard To Do
July 29, 2016
How often do you backup your laptop and mobile devices? Daily? Weekly? Monthly? Never?!
If you said never, you are not alone. According to a recent survey, 30% of people have never done a backup. So that begs the question…why not?! Accidents happen, devices get stolen, hard drives crash, phones get dropped, malware is lurking everywhere, and these are all real threats to your important data (photos, videos, music, and personal information).
Ask yourself what you would do if you were working on an important research paper for months and your computer suddenly won’t start. If you are running daily backups, you can easily pick up where you left off by restoring a copy of your research. If you don’t have backups of your data, you could be in for a lot of late nights recreating your data. It was reported in 2015 that country singer Garth Brooks spent six months working on material for a new album using his mobile phone only to lose it all when it got corrupted!
Backing Up Your Data Is Easy
A backup is simply a digital copy of your data stored somewhere else. That somewhere else could be an external USB flash drive, external hard drive, or a cloud service such as iCloud. In all of these cases if your primary device is lost or breaks down, your important data is not lost. Here’s a quick description of each of these options:
- USB Flash Drive – USB thumb drives offer a cheap, quick, and simple way to make a copy of your important files. The down side is that they are easily lost or stolen and typically do not offer enough space for a full backup of your devices. Furthermore, data on USB drives is typically not encrypted, so if you choose this method look at encrypting the contents to further protect your information.
- External Hard Drive – Same idea as a USB drive but will offer a lot more space for your files, but also comes at a high price tag. The great thing about an external hard drive is that most operating systems allow you to setup automatic daily backups, such as with Apple’s Time Machine.
- Cloud Service – Backing up your data to the cloud is a relatively new and growing business and there are lots of options here to meet your needs and price range. The thing to remember with a cloud service is that you are effectively saving your data on someone else’s computer. Be very careful to choose a service which will keep your data safe! And always use a strong and unique password with your cloud storage account.
Finally, once you have chosen your preferred backup method and are performing backups on a regular basis, make sure that you also test your backups from time to time. There are lots of stories out there of people and organizations that thought they were backing up their data, only to discover - too late - that the backups weren't working correctly.
Written by: Stephen Willem (Manager, CCS Information Security)