Back it up – Why it’s so important to back up your data and the best way to do it

You’ll only ever be in that situation once. The one where your stomach ends up in your throat because you’ve just lost years of hard work and commitment and… it wasn’t backed up!

Engineering Manger at Microtest, Robert Dent, says: “You wouldn’t dream of not putting your money in a bank or driving a car without insurance. Yet if your computer or IT equipment breaks you lose precious pictures and videos or important data and information. We invest so much, both personally and as businesses, into our daily digital content that it only makes sense to protect it. Most businesses these days operate digitally and data can be core to their success or failure. It just takes a wrong key click or mechanical hard disk crash and your data could be altered or damaged forever.

A little bit here and a little bit there…

“The best way to backup your data is to make sure you have multiple copies in multiple places. A simple way to do this is to have a couple of inexpensive USB memory sticks and regularly copy your files over to them. As your data grows you can upgrade to external hard drives and backup programs such as Time Machine for Mac or Windows own built in backup for PC – both of which can be scheduled for convenience. For tablet-only users, utilise services such as iCloud or online backup vaults offered by internet providers or third party suppliers.

“A quick way to have offsite storage is to email yourself and attach the files – this is ideal if it’s just one or two items. Ideally make sure you have two or three copies. How you organise that is up to you, but make it a part of your daily routine. When selecting any internet or cloud-based storage supplier always make sure you choose well-known reputable brands and check their legal contracts when signing up. You don’t want to find your data is not secure from other people or that you lose copyright to it.

“When using any removable media it is also paramount to consider physical security and possibly investigate encryption. USB sticks can be very small and easily dropped from a pocket.

“Another tip is to consistently save your documents every few minutes or after you have done significant work. Some packages offer an auto-save function but check the frequency as manual saves may still be required. If the power goes off after you have spent three hours writing a document, you want to ensure it’s all going to be saved.”

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