Backup Basics

Chalkboard with Backup Basics written on itWhat Is A Backup?

A backup is a copy of your files that can be restored in the event of a disaster.

Why Should I Backup?

Your data is valuable, and you should protect it.  From family photos, to school research papers, to resumes, and more – our lives are digital.

Just like insurance, backups protect us when disaster strikes.  Unfortunately, most people don’t think about backups until after a disaster.  Don’t be like most people!

Here are the most common ways you can lose data:

  • Hard drive crash.  100% of hard drives will fail eventually, even SSDs.
  • Viruses, worms, and trojans can infect your files.
  • Theft; computers, laptops, and phones get stolen all the time.
  • Files can be accidentally deleted.
  • Fire, hurricanes, and other natural disasters can destroy your data without warning.

According to a 2008 study, 66% of PC users have lost photos and files on their home computer.  42% lost files within the last year.

Just think how many files can be saved if only people backed up.

Backup Locally – A Good First Step

Most backup software can backup your data to a:

  • USB hard drive
  • Network drive
  • Thumb drive
  • Network Attached Storage (NAS)
  • Blu-ray disc
  • CD/DVD
  • or any other local storage device…

Paid backup software usually offers more features and support, but there are a lot of powerful free backup programs out there, too.

What About Online Backups?

Online backups, also known as cloud backups, store your data online.

Instead of storing your data on a local hard drive, it is transmitted over the internet and stored on a cluster of servers provided by an online backup service.  This solves the biggest problem with local backups: having all your data in one location.

Online backup services have many of the same benefits as local backups, such as:

  • Automatic scheduling.
  • The ability to backup your entire computer.
  • Easy restoration of files.
  • Password protected encryption.

But they also have several advantages:

  • Backup wherever you have internet; no need to connect and turn on a hard drive.
  • Your files are stored off-site, safe from fire and theft.
  • With mobile apps, you can access your backed up files on the go.
  • Syncing your files across devices.

How Much Do Online Backup Services Cost?

For as little as $5 per month, you can backup your computer online, safely, securely, and automatically.

Most online backup services come with a 30-day free trial, so you can try them risk free.

No matter what software or service you choose, it’s important to perform backups regularly and check them to make sure that they work.

Geoff Akerlund

Geoff Akerlund

Geoff Akerlund is the founder and editor-in-chief of He enjoys attending music festivals, whitewater kayaking on the American River, and board game nights in his free time.

Geoff Akerlund