Top 10 Tips For Keeping Your Backup Files Protected
The idea of keeping backup copies of your files is to make sure that you always have access to your work, personal and financial information and the kind of movies, music libraries, photos and videos that could not easily be replaced. It’s almost a necessity in a world that is growing increasingly reliant on personal computers and devices. A hard disk is not an infallible piece of hardware and can be vulnerable to natural disasters, theft, power surges or outages and so much more. Keeping a backup copy of that hard disk ensures that you are never left helplessly wondering how to get your data back.
We asked our experts for their advice when it comes to keeping backup files protected and we’ve put together our ten top tips for you from what they said:
1. Use An Online Backup Service
The most important tip that our experts had was to invest in an online backup service rather than rely solely on a hardware option. There are many reasons for this, but the most important are automation, ease of use and extra protection. The latter is the most important of all: when you keep your backup copies with a trusted service provider in a location far distant to the originals, you are ensuring that no natural disaster can affect them at the same time as destroying your hard disk.
2. Choose An Online Backup Service With Encryption During Upload
A backup service ought to use encryption to protect your data while it is being uploaded because, otherwise, your data is vulnerable to the spying eyes of hackers and thieves all the time it is crossing the internet. This is particularly important if some of your data is sensitive; for example, if you are storing tax records, credit card information or data about clients and customers.
3.Choose An Online Backup Service With Encryption During Storage
Equally important for your backup data’s protection is for it to be encrypted while it is being stored in the cloud. There’s a general belief that a cyber criminal will aim for the target with the highest potential returns, and a cloud storage data center with the sensitive information from thousands of customers is a pretty tempting target. Most online backup services will protect you against this possibility by continuing to use encryption while your data is being stored. Our experts recommend never opting for a service that does not do this.
4. Make Sure Your Online Backup Provider Keeps A Redundant Copy
You may be pondering the possibility that your backup data is not actually any safer on an online backup than it is on an external hard disk. After all, couldn’t it be destroyed very easily if your provider suffers a fire, flood, theft attempt or power surge? It could, yes, but many online backup providers have addressed this threat by keeping a third, redundant copy of your files in a completely different place, just in case something happens to your primary backup. Our experts stress that redundant copies are vital to be absolutely sure your data is protected.
5.Check Your Settings To Ensure Regular Backups
As soon as you have invested in an online backup provider, you will have access to its many features and options. Our experts recommend making sure that you are backing up your data as regularly as your internet speed and computing power will allow. It is best to back up daily and you may find your provider can limit the files it backs up to only those recently changed or created to make this easier. Some will even back up and sync your data as you are working on it, which can come in very handy.
6. Choose A Good Password For Your Backup
No matter how safe your provider is able to keep your data, it can only ever be as safe as the password you choose to access it. Most experts recommend using a different password for each service you sign up for on the internet and making sure to never include birthdates, pet names or other obvious words. In fact, a random string of letters and numbers will make up the safest password of all.
7. Beware Allowing Access To Third Parties
This may seem obvious, but our experts recommend not letting third parties access your data. The less obvious part is that they include friends, colleagues, loved ones and other parties you would usually trust in this equation. The fewer people have access to your data storage, the fewer people can lose the password or accidentally leave it open where someone else might access it.
8. Keep A Redundant Physical Copy
Our experts do recommend always using an online storage provider for backup, but they also recommend keeping your own physical backup just in case. Redundancy is the key to storage safety and will also give you immediate access to a backup should your data be somehow lost or damaged.
9. Keep All Physical Backup Data Away From Your Originals
A physical backup will keep your data safe only if you keep your physical backup safe. Our experts point out that a fire in your home office will destroy your USB drives as well as your hard disk, while a thief is even more likely to slip a small, portable storage device in their swag bag as they are to steal your computer. Almost any disaster that could harm your hard disk could at the same time affect your storage backup unless you keep it in a safe, separate place from your originals.
10. Research The Pedigree Of Your Online Storage Provider
Finally, but perhaps most importantly of all, our experts stress that you should do a thorough check into the background of your online storage provider before you trust them with your data. Do they have a perfect record of keeping data safe? Are they able to make claims about protecting it during upload and storage? Do they have the strongest safety protocols possible? Our experts looked at the most popular providers and answered these questions on your behalf, compiling their top picks of the available services to keep your backup files protected: