We are all told we need to backup data regularly and to be honest very few of us do. It is not until that horrible situation arises where something goes very wrong that we realize that the last time we backed up was 12 months ago!
Do I really need backup software?
The answer is yes. With the age of digital cameras, mobile phones, and web-cams, we store tons of photos, videos, and documents on our computers. Often we transfer all our photos off the camera before going on a day out or holiday and then wipe the camera memory. Basically that means the ONLY copy we have of those photos is on the computer. What if that computer was damaged or stolen? There would be no way to get those precious files back.
There are those of us out there that backup often but there are everyday users who do not tend to back up computer data. In my experience there are 3 reasons for this:
- They don’t know how to
- They can’t find the time to do it or cannot be bothered
- They think it is too difficult or requires expensive software or subscriptions
Unfortunately and through no fault of their own, it is the older generation who either don’t know how important it is to backup their data or don’t care until they lose it. Sometimes it just takes a family member or friend to show them how to do it or drive home the importance of doing it. Also emphasizing the point that if the worst does happen they could either lose the data or face expensive repairs to recover the data will help.
I don’t have the time
We have all said it “I will do it tomorrow it will be fine” then 3 months later we have still not done it. Yes backing up takes a bit of time and is a pain in the neck but definitely 30 minutes or an hour, once a week/month is better than losing all that treasured data.
I’m not sure I want something running all the time and it looks confusing
The other thing I discovered is that a large number of people just don’t want software running in the background for one reason or another. They also do they want to be confused with incremental backups and recovery programs should things go wrong. All they want is to have their photos back or their documents and correspondence if they need them.
It does not matter how many times I try to convince people that backup software will make their life easier. Many are just not interested. So I give them exactly what they want, a quick and easy way to save their photos and documents.
To Backup Data:
1. Buy a USB Drive for about £10 or if you are willing to spend a little more an external hard drive
2. Create a folder on the device called photos
3. Copy all your photos from your computer and paste them into your new drive
4. Repeat in a month
Despite all the disadvantages of doing it this way if it gets people to backup in some form then surely that is a good thing.
I think online data backup service is also a great idea and the way they work constantly backing up all the time keeps your backup constantly fresh with little interaction from the user. The problem again is the misconceptions that people have with regards to these services such as security and the fact that someone else is holding their data. I do think cloud backup has its disadvantages such as people with huge amounts of data could find it taking days or weeks to backup.
They also have some great advantages when compared with offline backups like hard drives and memory sticks for those that don’t require huge backups ( less than 10GB for example)
- They are safe, secure and encrypted contrary to what is sometimes believed
- You can access your data from anywhere
- No need to worry about hardware
- Most have software that scans for new files and backs them up soon after creation
- Relatively cheap
The point is we don’t have to make backing up our data difficult or complex. Yes it will always take time to backup data whatever method you choose but backing up will save you a lot less trouble in the future and should be something we all do at least once a month.
In my line of work I often see people who have neglected to backup their data and it is heart breaking to see people lose years of photos of grandchildren or people who have passed away when it could so easily have been avoided. If you have a family member or friend who does not backup tell them now or better yet show them a basic way to backup their data it is worth it.
This guest post written by Craig Aldred from www.computerlearnhow.com who shares his experiences in his article Ways to backup Online vs Offline backups