Back It Up
Protect yourself against data loss by making electronic copies of important files, commonly referred to as a backup.
Our computers contain vast amounts of data, from family photos and music collections to financial records and personal contacts. In fact, a recent National Cyber Security Alliance/Symantec study found that more than 68% of Americans store 25% or more of their photos digitally. For most people, the loss of that information could be devastating.
Data can be lost in several ways: computer malfunctions, theft, viruses, spyware, accidental deletion, and natural disasters.
Data backup is a simple, three step process:
Make Copies of Your DataMany computers come with a backup software program installed, so check to see if you have one. Most backup software programs will allow you to make copies of every file and program on your computer, or just the files you’ve changed since your last backup.
Here are links to backup utilities in popular operating systems:
Select Hardware to Store Your DataWhen you conduct a backup, the files will have to be stored on a physical device - such as CDs, DVDs, or USB flash drives, an external hard drive, or on the web using cloud-based online storage.
Safely Store the Backup Device that Holds Your DataAfter setting up the software and copying your files on a regular basis, make sure you keep your backup device somewhere safe. Some ideas include a trusted neighbor’s house, your workplace, a safe, or a secure place at home that would likely survive a natural disaster. Keep your backup device close enough so that you can retrieve it easily when you do your regular backup.
Other software programs are available for purchase if your system does not have a backup program or if you’re seeking other features. Ideally, you should backup your files at least once a week.