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How and why should I backup my data?

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NetBasics backup (screenshot)

For many people, their computer stores a lot of important and valuable information – your small business accounts, childhood photos and movies, a chunk of your music collection and more.

It’s important to make a backup copy of these items in case malicious software (malware) destroys or deletes data or your computer is physically damaged or stolen.

Computer backup FAQs:

What should I backup?
A full backup of the contents of your computer’s hard drive is ideal – but will require a lot of backup capacity.

It is important to make copies of items that you cannot easily reproduce. For example: documents you have created yourself, photos, and media you’ve purchased online.

What are my backup options?
Good home backup options include portable hard drives, burning files to CDs or DVDs and reputable online storage facilities. Remember a backup only needs to be a second copy of a file that can be used if the original is damaged.

Ideally the second copy is kept physically separated from the computer in case of fire, flood, or theft.

How often should I make a backup?
Set a regular schedule. All items created since the last backup are at risk. You should decide how much you’re prepared to risk and establish your backup routine accordingly.

If you use a computer every day consider scheduling a backup to an online service at the end of the working day. If you only send the occasional email then copying your files once a month to a USB stick may be enough.

How much is this going to cost me?
The price of data storage has dropped considerably over the last few years –  you can now buy a good quality 1 terabyte external hard drive for $150.

And online storage can often be free – the popular service Dropbox offers 2GB plan at no charge.

Just remember that online services can come and go and storing confidential files ‘in the cloud’ in another country (under different laws) may bring privacy and security issues for businesses.

Visit the NetBasics website to learn about how to keep your computer data secure.

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