Picture this: you are one step from finalizing a document that has taken you hours, days, maybe even weeks to complete. You turn on your computer to take it over the finish line and something happens; blue screen, beach ball of death, or no response at all.
Panicked, you do all you can to get your computer back up and running and finally, you’re back in – only to find that the same document you were one step away from finishing had disappeared. Why? Because you forgot to back up your computer.
According to the official World Backup Day site, a whopping 21 per cent of people have never backed up their personal computer, making them extremely vulnerable to the situation I shared earlier. The reality is that accidents, theft and cyberattacks can happen to anyone, anywhere and at any time, making it more important than ever to back your data up.
Candidly, while work devices are usually backed up automatically, personal device and data backup can be a tedious task. Still, it’s important to understand that data loss can be critical and detrimental, especially if it impacts your business in any way. In recognition of World Backup Day, I wanted to share three helpful tips about backing up your data so that it doesn’t feel like another chore to check off your to-do list, but rather a standard daily routine that keeps you and your data safe.
Invest in additional backup storage
You might be thinking, “Isn’t one backup storage enough?” but imagine if something were to happen to your original storage. Like everything else, a balance of options is always a good approach.
Backup hardware can stop working, an error could arise, it could become lost or stolen and automated cloud storage could be hacked. This is why I recommend having at least two copies of data in different storages, online and offline, such as an external hard drive and a cloud storage.
Having multiple copies of data and storage not only becomes an efficient and cost-saving method if something does ever happen, but it also grants you peace of mind to know that your data is safe. Keeping an additional backup of personal data outside of your home office, using cloud storage or using hardware at an alternate location completely, gives you even more reliance of data security in case of an accident or natural disaster. Business has used a multiple storage model for many years.
Prioritize important data
It could get overwhelming to organize and prioritize your data when you are dealing with many files on your device. Companies will categorize and back up data based on type and retention. When preparing to backup your personal data, think about what files are most important. For example, you may want to back up important files first like tax slips and files, photos from that family vacation or your closest friend’s phone number, rather than planning to backup purchased programs like a photo editing software. Consider if you can recover the information in alternate ways, and if you can, determine if backing that data up is needed.
For business-related devices, confidential files like business strategy documents, employee records and financial transactions should be prioritized to be backed up more frequently to prevent data corruption and malicious hacking from outside threats. Business files should be backed up by your company’s automated technology as it provides added data security controls to protect the information from unauthorized use.
Set a regular schedule
The best way to practice regular personal system backups is to set a schedule. There are no specific rules to setting a schedule, but backups should be done as often as your files change. Companies use complex backup schedules that meet their business requirements and risk levels.
Be sure to consider how long any backup may take. Depending on what type of backup you perform, whether that’s a full data backup, incremental backup or differential backup, you will need to have your device connected and online in order to make sure your files are successfully backed up. Whatever method is used, be intentional and consistent with the approach taken and check to make sure it’s working successfully. Your action to back up your data matters and gives you the assurance that it will all be there.
With technology becoming more prominent in our daily lives, regular data backups become just as important to be part of our daily personal and business routines. I encourage you to take some time on World Backup Day to set a schedule to back up your personal data, verify your business data is being backed up to a secure location within your organization, and to prevent data loss and save yourself from potential panic – your future self will thank you for it!
Jo-Ann Smith is the Chief Information Security Officer at Long View Systems.
Photo by benjamin lehman on Unsplash
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