Computer Security and Backup

One of the most important aspects of computer security, and the best way to protect your data, is to have good backup.

When your computer gets hacked, you will either lose your data, or you can no longer trust it. Having the ability to restore your data from backups is the most valuable computer protection you can have.

The more obstacles you put in front of computer criminals - antivirus and anti-malware software, secure network, good passwords, secure web browser - the safer your computer will be.

But even with all the computer protection in place, it is still possible that your computer will be broken into. Having good data backups - a copy of your data - is the best way to protect it.

If you are computer savvy you can try doing it yourself, or for a few dollars per month you can get unlimited backup and save yourself a headache.

Backing Up Your Data

There are many ways to lose your data. Your computer can:

  • Get infected by a virus, malware or ransomware
  • Get broken into by a cyber criminal
  • Have a hardware failure
  • Get lost or stolen
  • Get hit by a natural disaster (fire, flood, earthquake, kids)

Or you could accidentally delete a file, photo or video.

You probably have different types of data:

  • Documents
  • Photos
  • Music
  • Movies
  • Projects
  • Raw data files

All your data is on your computer. If anything happens to your computer, you will lose all your data.

Your data is your most valuable digital asset. Back it up before you lose it.

You are already looking after things you care about in the physical world. You may have:

  • Car insurance
  • Double set of house keys
  • Multiple favorite coffee places

The world we live in is increasingly digital. You must adjust and become a part of it, or you will be left behind.

The technology we use has developed so fast that we - humans - have not had the time to adjust. Our own evolution hasn't caught up yet to the digital wonders around us.

You would probably panic if you came across a snake. But are you terrified that you have no backups of your data? You should be.

It is much more likely that you will need your backups than a shelter from a snake.

If you think that something bad - getting hacked, having your computer die - will never happen to you, you are not using a sound strategy to protect your data. Bad things do happen. You should be ready.

The good news is, backing up your computer to a remote location is very easy. It can be automated - the backup software will continuously back up your computer - and you don't even have to think about it.

Until you need your data back, that is. And then, you will be extremely grateful (and extremely happy) that you were wise enough to build a data protection shelter.

Computer Security and Backup Strategies

Having a computer backup means having a copy of your data somewhere else. If your original files, documents, photos and videos are on your laptop computer, then you should have a copy, not on the same computer, but on another device.

Your original files, documents, photos and videos may be on your:

  • Laptop computer
  • Desktop computer or workstation
  • External USB disk drive

A good backup strategy is to have three copies of your data: two local and one remote.

For example, if your original data is on your laptop computer, then you should have one copy on one external USB drive (in your home), one copy on another external USB drive (also in your home), and a third copy on a third USB drive that you keep outside of your home (at your friend's house, for example).

This is an ideal backup strategy, and if you have it already in place, congratulations!

But what if you don’t have any backups at all? Where should you get started?

If you have no backups of any kind, you should sign up for a cloud backup service.

Signing up for a cloud backup service is easy and you can do it right now, from your computer. You don’t have to buy any additional hardware like an external USB disk drive.

If you are to have just one copy of your data, it is better to have it somewhere else than at your home. Once you have a copy of your data somewhere else, you can make another copy that is local as well.

Remote backup, also known as off-site backup, is a copy of your data far away from the original files. The greater the distance between the two copies, the better.  At least a few hundred miles is recommended.

Another benefit of starting with a cloud backup service is that backups are automated. There is nothing you have to do. The backup software looks for new and changed files on your computer, and backs them up automatically.

Manual backups - copying your data yourself to an external USB drive - are tedious, time-consuming and error-prone. Automated backups are a much better way to protect your data.

I back up all my own and my family's computers with Backblaze. It is simple, reliable and works well. After the installation, there is nothing you have to do. It works in the background and backs up your files to a remote location.

Summary: Computer Security and Backup

There are many ways to lose your data. Your computer can get hacked, stolen, or die.

An important part of computer security is to have reliable backups. When all else fails - all the computer protection you have in place - the only way to get your data back will be to restore it from backups.

You should have at least one copy of all your data somewhere else:

  • On another computer
  • On external USB drive
  • At the remote backup service provider

Losing data is very inconvenient. You will spend a lot of time - and probably money - to recover lost data from your computer. Sometimes lost data cannot be recovered.

Losing data is also very nerve-racking. Imagine losing something very precious, like your family photos or videos. You lost them, and can never get them back. Do you really want to be in this situation?

If you have no backups at all, or are not backing up your data in a consistent way - because you have to manually copy files from your computer to your external USB drive - you should first start with a remote cloud backup service. This is:

  • Easy - It is automated and works without your intervention
  • Simple - It runs by itself and backs up your data
  • Robust - You can get your data back when you need it

The process of backing up your data is only half of the equation. When you do lose your data and want to get it back, you should be able to restore it without issues. Backups should be reliable, otherwise you cannot count on your data being there when you need it.

One simple and effective remote cloud backup that is reliable and robust is Backblaze. Once you install it, there is nothing you have to do. It knows what to back up, and does it without getting in your way.