Importance of Backing Up Your Data- At Home and at Work
As you use a computer at work or at home, you will accumulate important data on the internal storage of the system. This personal or business information may include email correspondence, records, documents, and photos. Computer systems may crash without warning, and sometimes, internal storage in a computer becomes inaccessible due to unexpected errors or failures. If this occurs, you may not be able to retrieve your data, which can have serious ramifications. For this reason, it’s important to back up your system data to provide yourself with electronic copies of important information. It is also imperative that you test your backup system to ensure that the copies are usable and correct. In addition, you must perform backup operations at regular intervals to ensure that you have up-to-date copies of your data.
Overview of Computer Backup
A number of situations could occur that might result in the loss of data. A computer or hard drive failure could make data irretrievable. Theft of a computer system could also cause you to lose information. A virus or malware introduced onto a computer could erase a hard drive or prevent you from accessing it. Even a physical event such as a fire or a flood could lead to computer damage, which would prevent you from accessing files on your computer. Imagine the personal or professional hardship you might experience if suddenly your computer system became inoperable and you cannot access information you had stored on your computer. For a business, this situation could be a professional disaster. On a personal level, the loss of personal correspondence, documents, and photographs could be devastating. Duplicating or backing up computer data prevents hardships and mishaps from occurring in the event of technological failure.
- Guidelines for Backing Up Information (PDF)
- Personal Backup and Recovery of Your Data (PDF)
- Backing Up Your Computer
- Got Backup? Finding the Best Backup Option for Your Small Business Data
Hardware for Backing Up
A number of hardware devices are available for backing up a computer system. An external hard drive is one option for basic backup purposes. An external drive is a portable storage device that you plug into your computer. External drives have different capacities to accommodate as much or as little data as necessary. External drives with higher memory capacities are more expensive than smaller devices. Once it’s connected, you can copy files from your computer hard drive to the external drive to create an additional copy of the files. You could also use a small flash drive for physical backup of a computer system. Flash drives are tiny enough to fit on a keychain or in a pocket, and they come in a variety of storage capacities to enable them to store data. Once you place data onto a hardware device for backup, you will need to store the hardware device carefully and securely to protect your copied data.
- How to Back Up Data to a USB Flash Drive
- Computer Backup System Buying Guide
- Backup Recommendations for Desktops, Laptops, and Mobile Devices
Backup Information for Apple Systems
Apple makes it possible for Mac users to back up their systems. The Time Machine software is built into Apple computers for easy backing up of important data. To use Time Machine, you can simply choose a date in the past to revisit this date with your computer as it was at that time. It’s possible to use Time Machine in conjunction with an external hard drive if you select this option when prompted by the program. You can also use manual backup methods with an Apple system, similar to how you would back up a PC.
- Backing Up Your Mac
- Backing Up in Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard: Enabling Time Machine
- Back Up Personal Files (Windows or Mac)
- Mac Basics: Time Machine Backs Up Your Mac
Cloud Backup Options
A number of services are available to enable computer users to back up their data virtually to the cloud. Cloud backup involves invisible storage of information such as emails, documents, records, and photos on an Internet server. With cloud data storage, you can access your data from any device and location with an Internet connection. With cloud storage, you won’t have worries about space limitations like you might with an external hard drive or a flash drive. But although cloud storage is convenient and affordable, there are some security issues to consider. The company offering cloud storage must have the capability of encrypting the data to protect unauthorized users from accessing and reading the data. Cloud storage typically involves a monthly or annual fee to continue the service.
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