In 2016, we have more digital files than we have ever had in the past, and you may be asking yourself “What should I backup?”. Modern tablets and smartphones can take high definition photographs and record 4K video, which we can instantly sync between our devices and upload to the internet. We are watching, saving and producing huge amounts of digital media, and it is vital that we keep everything safe going forward. Over the coming decades, we will create and consume mountains of digital content – make sure that yours is backed up and secure.
What should I backup to?
- External Hard Drive
- USB Flash Drive
- The Cloud
External Hard Drive
The largest and best option for backing up your files – an external hard drive can store terabytes of data in a wallet sized portable device.
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USB Flash Drive
Mainly used for moving files from one location to another, however flash drives are getting bigger and cheaper. A 128GB drive can be used as a temporary backup point and can be a much cheaper option if you don’t have many files.
Whether you are a PC or Mac user, you can use your machine as a hub for all your files. If you have files spread out across multiple devices (like tablets and phones), then organising them properly on your computer can enable you to easily keep track of your important files. Once everything is filed and in order, backing up to an external hard drive or USB drive becomes much easier to plan.
Cloud storage is your own personal space online which is owned and managed by a hosting company. Online storage allows you to login and access your files from anywhere, which gives you a much more flexible option. Popular cloud storage providers include Google Drive, Dropbox and Microsoft OneDrive.
The best way to backup is to use all of the options above – the more locations your files are saved, the safer they will be.
What should I backup?
- Home Videos
- Movies and TV Shows
- Important Documents
If you have a smartphone or MP3 player then you probably have a library of music files which are synced with your various devices. Media players such as iTunes will organise all your files and show them with pretty cover art, but the important files are saved in the background on your PC or Mac. Find your music library and backup your files – you may have thousands of tracks.
If you have a digital camera and a smartphone, then you probably have thousands of photos saved across multiple devices/accounts. Saving all your photos onto an external hard drive is a great way of keeping your treasured memories safe and secure for the future. Also remember that you may buy a new phone or get a new laptop which isn’t compatible with your current camera software, so backing up your original photo files is an important future-proofing exercise.
Home Videos, Movies and TV Shows
Digital video files are large and can take up a lot of room on your PC/Mac. You may have lots of recorded footage from your smartphone or camcorder, or you may have downloaded movies or TV shows. Saving a whole movie library is a big task and requires a lot of storage. A large external hard drive or a NAS may be your best option.
Text files and spreadsheets don’t take up a lot of space, but they are often very important. Budgets, bills, letters and cash flows need to be kept safe, and backing up your documents gives you another level of security. If you currently keep all your documents saved only on your PC or Mac, then you risk losing them if your computer was to break or suffer a severe failure. Backing up means that you will be safe even if the worst was to happen.
In the future, the security and continuity of our digital files will be a huge challenge to manage. In 2016 you should stop asking “What should I backup” and start backing up immediately. If you start now and ensure that your files are organised and backed up both physically and on the cloud, you will be ahead of the game and comfortable with the safety of your most treasured digital memories. Backup today!