With the vast amount of data that we carry on our devices nowadays, we need a way to protect ourselves from data loss. Data can be lost in several different ways, including computer malfunctions, theft, viruses, spyware, accidental deletion, natural disasters, and much more. Luckily, there is an easy way to prevent data loss which requires very little technical expertise: backing up your computer.
Backing up a computer can go many different ways, but each method generally involves three simple steps:
- Make copies of the data that you wish to backup
- Choose a method of backing up these copies (iCloud, external hard drive, etc.)
- If backed up to an external hard drive, safely store this drive
Step 1: Make copies of the data that you wish to backup
Many computers come with a simple way to back up your data. For Windows computers, backup capability is built right into Windows 10. Find out how to access this functionality here. For Mac users, backup capability is also built into MacOS with Time Machine. You can find out more on how to use Time Machine here. Either of these methods will automate the copying process for you, so that you can sit back and watch as your computer does all of the “heavy lifting”.
Step 2: Choose a method of backing up
If you followed the links in Step 1, Windows 10 and Time Machine will guide you through this step. Windows 10 will allow you to seamlessly back up to an external drive, and Apple has a couple of options for backing up, namely iCloud and automatic backups to an external drive.
Step 3: If backed up to an external hard drive, safely store this drive
The National Cyber Security Alliance strongly recommends that if you have completed this backup process with an external hard drive, that you should store this drive in a secure physical location. Some suggestions that they offer in regard to specific places to store these drives include a trusted neighbor’s house, your workplace, a safe, or any other secure place in your home (or dorm) which would be safe in the event of a natural disaster.
For more information relating cybersecurity topics, visit: www.sites.up.edu/cybersecurity
For more information regarding backing up your computer, visit: https://staysafeonline.org/stay-safe-online/online-safety-basics/back-it-up/