All about backups

One of the more boring but ever so important habits to adopt with regards to technology is backing up. In other words, a plan B in case you lose data. To make it sound even more simple, a backup is an extra version of your stuff.

What is a backup?

Remember when we had to go get pictures developed at stores like pharmacies or photo counters? You could order “doubles”? In a way that is a retro version of a backup. Perhaps you displayed your favourite pictures in frames or albums and kept your duplicates somewhere safe so they wouldn’t age or be exposed to humidity or prolonged sunlight (old photo albums tend to live in basements or on bookshelves near sunlight) or other elements that could fade the pictures. If you stored those duplicates, or doubles elsewhere, you were creating a backup system! And those negatives that came with every developed film? They were also a backup – ready to be used in case a third version was needed somewhere down the line. Consider those duplicate prints a redundant backup and those negative strips an off-site version. What?

Fast forward…

Today’s digital data (photos, videos, word documents, emails, presentations, music files etc) is all stored on your computer, camera, music player (iPod), phone or tablet. And those things can go with you on your next vacation, easily forgotten on a plane or dropped in the pool. Or they can simply stop working. That food journal you wanted to show your doctor is gone. Those family photos are lost. Your budget documents are erased. Without a backup that would be called epic data loss! And in the tech industry, we call it  – disaster.

What’s your disaster recovery strategy?

Backup plans and recovery strategies don’t have to be complex and tedious. They can be very simple or not, depending on how comfortable you are with where those digital items are stored. Computers, smart phones and tablets can be set up to perform automatic backups to the cloud or in a secondary location on your computer’s hard drive. Some documents can simply exist in the cloud instead of on your computer or device. A very simple backup process could be to email yourself a copy of a document. While using email for storage isn’t ideal, it can keep a version of a file easily obtained just about anywhere. If you’re very careful about your computer’s files, you can use an external hard drive to save all your data and keep that hard drive anywhere else (from a safety deposit box to a shelf in your closet to someone else’s house!).  The important thing is you do back up somehow.

March 31 – International Backup Day

Backups are necessary and can save the day when you lose your tablet, drop your phone or your computer just stops working. But they just aren’t exciting to talk about. Enter March 31 – World Backup Day. This day was chosen to avoid being the FOOL the following day who loses all their stuff! So if you aren’t tech savvy enough to know your backup plan, use the internet to learn something new:

About Jennifer Stern

Blogger, writer, mother, daughter, wife - I'm firmly planted in the sandwich generation. I've spent years writing about technology and how to use it in the business world. Now I'm turning my vocation into passion and writing for a greater audience, those who can most benefit from convenience but who may be tech-shy. Welcome to Digital Seniors!