Much of our important and personal information is in electronic form. Whether you communicate with institutions, family, friends, professionals, colleagues and even doctors, the exchange of information is being done in emails, online forms, Internet phone calls and other electronic communiqués. These communications are in a form known as digital data files. From audio files, and videos to photos and documents, all of these files are vulnerable to being lost unless they are backed up.
The first step in keeping your information safe is simple - be prepared. Record your voice communications, save your email attachments, print screen all the online forms you fill out, etc. This way, if something happens to your online service or computer, such as a mail server shutting down or a hardware crash, you will still have access to your files.
Many people don’t think anything will ever happen to the data stored on their computers. However, even the most vigilant web surfers and routine computer users can fall victim to a data disaster. Computer hard drives or hardware are more likely to crash than enterprise grade servers because these systems use multi-level professional safeguards to secure data.
Combine all available backup options to protect your precious data. You should use external hard drives, USB flash drives, optical media (CD/DVD), mirrored online backup systems, etc. Simply use as many ways as possible to back up important files.
Besides hardware issues, there are many software problems that may cause data loss. If you are working with a file and the application you use for it unexpectedly crashes, it may corrupt the file. When data loss or corruption occurs, often the only option is to restore the file from a backup.
The recommendations below list backup methods and explain why the technique is used, what is important about it, what the disadvantages are and how to restore data.
Data backup and protection recommendations:
- Create Files – Create files to store important communications. For example, if you are sharing personal information with someone over the Internet, create a file for it. Use recording software, use the print screen option, save your email attachments and email texts, etc.
- Save files in multiple places – Once you have your files saved in your computer, copy them to as many storage places as possible. Use external hard-drives, USB flash drives, optical discs and online storages, such as Inbox Storage, Dropbox® and SkyDrive®. By having them in many locations, the files will be easily accessible.
- Backup software – With automatic backup applications, all you have to do is just install it and the software will back up designated folders at scheduled times. You don’t have to think about your backups at all. To learn more about online backup software, read the article on choosing a data backup software.
- Protect operating system files – Operating system updates usually contain fixes for known issues. This is why it is important to secure operating system files by using a system protection tool, such as System Protect.
- Security application – Install antivirus, antispyware and firewall applications to block access to your data from the Internet. Be sure to keep it up-to-date so your system is protected from the latest malware.
- Use restoration point in Windows® - If you use Microsoft Windows® as your operating system, make sure this function is enabled so you can restore your computer back to where it was at a certain time if something unpleasant happens.