This subject comes up from time to time. I am often asked just how to back up data and how often to do it.
The quick answer is–if you have important data that you don’t wish to lose, back it up.
How often? Depends on how long it will take to replicate it and how much money will it cost to do so.
So, how do you do it? There are a number of ways and I will tell you how I do it and then you can decide for yourself how much work you are willing to do to keep your stuff safe.
I have a backup program that backs up my data to a second hard drive in my computer.
The program runs once a day.
I also have a cloud backup account that backs up my data as it is created.
In addition, I have an external hard drive that I use about once a month to create an image of my hard drive.
Let’s look at these one by one.
Daily backups: Good to have. This way, you can back up everything you have done that day or you can backup everything on the computer. The only down side is that should you have a disaster such as a hard drive crash, you can lose the data that has not been backed up that day.
Cloud backups: These are really slick in that they back up your files as they are created. You can easily access the files on the Internet. Some programs advertise that this is the proper way to manage your data as you can access it from home or work or anywhere in the world.
Creating an image: Your hard drive has the operating system on it (e.g. Windows), your programs, and your data. In the event of a catastrophic event, everything on your hard drive will be lost. You can probably get it back by sending the hard drive out to a data recovery business, but it will cost you at least $1,000.
A better idea is to have an image of your drive (an exact copy) that you can use if needed. You can replace your hard drive, boot the system from a recovery disk, and then restore the image. The operating system, programs, and data will all be there.
The cheapest way to go is to get a flash drive and back up your files to that as needed. There is a slight chance that the flash drive can fail. There is a much greater chance that you will lose it.