As I’m the newest member of staff at SOD-IT and Martin keeps insisting I do something social media based, so in a bid to resist getting a Facebook account (yes I am one of THOSE people) I’ve decided to try and share some advice based on the things we come across regularly.
This time I’ve decided it’s Backup. Yes I know it’s boring and something most of us only think about after something happens, however it is important. I’m going to split it into two parts, first part covering theory and practice and second part covering software and apps to help. These days we are all used to having access to all of our data and files anywhere we go, we carry laptops and mobiles full of precious family pictures and video, huge iTunes collections and important University or Business documents.
Now those of you reading this, and have been into us will know one of the questions we ask when booking you in is whether you need stuff backed up in event of us having to rebuild your system and some of you reading might think “that’s me he’s talking about”, but rest assured I’m not thinking of anyone in particular.
Losing files and data happens to us all, everyone has a story of a phone dropped, a file deleted by mistake or a dead hard drive. Mistakes happen, hardware wears out or breaks down. I could bore you here explaining exactly how complicated a feat of engineering the hard drive in your laptop is, but the short version is that they are susceptible to damage from bangs, knocks and drops while the drive is running. This damage could show up immediately or might take time to show but it happens more often than we like to think. We all know most phones don’t react well to drops or going for a swim.
If we accept that the systems we rely and count on to store the information we hold precious or important, are as fallible as our own memories. The question becomes, what can we do to decrease the chances of losing the things we really don’t want, or can’t afford to lose? Well apart from being careful with our equipment, the simple answer is make sure we have a method of backup AND, that we actually USE it regularly.
With desktops and laptops this can be easier, a flash drive or external hard drive that we regularly use to copy our documents, videos, photos and music folders over to, is the most basic way. There are various programs free and paid for that can do this for us and once set up will only copy the new or changed files over, which reduces time. We can also use one of the cloud services, Microsoft’s One Drive, Google’s Drive, Dropbox and Live drive to name a few. Ideally the best practice would be to have 2 flash drives or hard drives, 1 of which we keep at another family member or friends home and a cloud storage system to give belt and braces approach.
With mobiles, things can be a little harder, some Android phones allow us to plug in an external flash drive with a special cable, but mainly we are dependent on cloud storage, usually from Google or Apple which is set up when we first get the phone and register an account. Once properly set up these copy our videos, pictures and music to cloud storage every time we connect to WiFi. So if we lose the phone, we still have copies accessible by computer and websites.
Hopefully now I’ve given you something to think about. Next time we will go into the details of cloud storage and what systems might be best for you. Until next time…………….