How to Back Up Your Computer Files

Why You Should Have a Backup Plan for Your Files

Karen Carlson

It’s that chore that you don’t want to do – backing up your computer. It’s a necessary evil of the digital age.

But most of us have had that sinking feeling when we start our computer and get a sad face computer icon. “Hard Drive not Found” or … “File Corrupted” or worse – “Your Site has Been Hacked.”  Maybe you drop your laptop or an overturned slushie soaks the hard drive. Perhaps you turn away from your laptop for a second and a thief grabs it.

It’s even more frustrating when the hard drive stops working for no reason. As one IT professional told me years ago, “Sometimes, they just die.”

We all kick ourselves for not backing up our files.

With cyberterrorism on the rise, it’s even more important to back up your files regularly and avoid the pain of hackers holding your data at ransom.

“Performing a regular backup of your website and database files is essential to maintain business continuity,” says Bill Goldsberry, Manager of LRS Web Solutions and Network Support. “Having current backups makes resolving issues much easier in the event of accidental deletions, malware infections, ransomware attacks, or other problems causing data loss.”

How to Backup Your Computer Files

There are three ways to backup your files. They all have advantages and disadvantages.

Back it up to a cloud server.

Windows 10 has a built-in backup tool. Apple has its Cloud and Time Machine. Dropbox and Google Drive are popular free online solutions. The advantage is that automatic tools back up as often as you want to schedule it. The downside is that it’s out there in on the internet, still hackable.

Pay for online backup software.

According to LRS Network Support Senior Consultant Scott Brown, “Something is better than nothing.”  Subscriptions to sites like Carbonite expand on their free versions to give you more space to back up your files. Paid platforms have pros and cons. They're convenient, but these services look at specific locations and may not be a complete backup of entire system.

If you like to have something to hold in your hands and control where it lives, then back up to an external hard drive. Brown says professionals are moving away from this method. If an external hard drive is attached to the PC, it is vulnerable to infections and ransomware attacks. “Attacks that infect your PC can trickle through to the external hard drive,” Brown says. To protect your information, keep your backup external drive unplugged from your computer and store a drive offsite in safe place. Another downside of manual backups is that you must do it yourself. External hard drives can also be stolen, they may not be encrypted, and they may just break.

“As more users consider cloud based backup solutions, they want to ensure that their data is protected. Multi-factor authentication helps with that need,” Brown says.

What to Do on World Backup Day

World Backup Day is March 31 – just before April Fool’s Day – so it’s a good day to backup everything before someone plays an April Fool’s joke on you.

Review your backup policy not only at home but at your business. If you get hit with a ransomware attack, do you know how to restore your data or who to call for help? Have you tested the process? Will you retrieve data you can work with? What’s your business continuity solution if your computers are damaged? Do you have a way to get up and running again?

Brown advises considering an “Office in the Cloud.” "That's essentially what it is," Brown says. "In the event the office was lost due to flood, fire, etc, the user can go to a location and with help from us, we can provide a way for them to connect to that offsite datacenter so they can access their files."  This is in a worst case scenario type event in which the office has been lost. 

So think about and review your backup policies. Update your disaster recovery manual and restoration services.

LRS Network Support has backup solutions with a partner, Axcient.  “If a location goes down, we would pull from cloud to get it back,” Scott says.

At scale, security can require many layers to retrieve data, according to Axcient. But with a professional security company safeguarding your data, “the likelihood of a data loss event for a system in our cloud in any given year is calculated to be about 1 out of 10 billion,” says Nimet Lakhani, National Account Manager at Axcient.

Axcient lists 5 helpful practices for data backups

Axient offers 3 solutions– an agent-based server backs up to an appliance, up to the Cloud. They also offer a file and folder only option that monitors changes (365 sync). A third option, Office 365, – backs it up longer than the standard 15 days.

If you need help with your backup solution, contact LRS Network Support.  “We can find a solution to fit the needs of the business,” Brown says.  Ultimately, having a strong computer backup solution can save you money by keeping your business running and giving you peace of mind.

But don’t computer backup let it be a once-a-year event. Take time to back up your files regularly and keep them safe. So when the inevitable computer reaches its demise, you’ll be back up and running without missing a beat.

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