Internet 101: Back it up or get ready to lose it

Internet 101: Back it up or get ready to lose it

So you heard you need to backup your important files. Everyone should because having one copy of something important is not a good idea. Something about eggs in one basket. You should separate your eggs. Here’s why:

Computers fail. If your hard drive crashes or becomes corrupted, getting your files back usually isn’t an option. Same goes if your house burns down or your stuff gets stolen.

People fail. I can’t tell you how many times I have lost important school assignments (it’s always just before it is due, too) moving files around. Maybe I thought I had multiple copies of the file when I only had one. Maybe I had a rough draft and a final draft, didn’t name them differently enough, and deleted the wrong one (more than once. I even submitted the rough draft once. How embarrassing!)

Security fails. There are precautions you can take to make this unlikely, but it’s never a sure thing, and plenty of people have been left wishing they had a backup from recent ransomware attacks. But it doesn’t even have to be ransomware: simple, everyday viruses can corrupt your irreplaceable files.

Keep 3 separate copies.

This means the original, plus two other copies.

In the IT world, backing up everything, always, is a golden rule. So is 3-2-1:

At least 2 different types of media. A hardware failure could signal certain weakness in that specific hardware type. You lower your risk of failure and your vulnerability to virus and ransomware attack by using multiple kinds of media.

At least 1 in a location separate from the other two. Think: if your house burns down, all your files are gone unless they are somewhere else. If you get hit with ransomware and your external storage is connected to your computer, those files are gone unless they are somewhere else.

red external hard drive



What should I use as a back-up?


You have plenty of options, including:

  • External hard drives
  • SD cards
  • Pin drives
  • CD disks
  • Other computers
  • Cloud storage

Cloud storage is awesome. Which one should I use? “The Old Man and the Key,”[1] Episode 13, Season 13 of the American animated sitcom The Simpsons originally aired on March 10th, 2002

Don’t yell at the cloud! Store your files there! (
“The Old Man and the Key,”[1] Episode 13, Season 13 of the American animated sitcom The Simpsons originally aired on March 10th, 2002)

Cloud storage is a great option, because it fulfills the requirement of being a different type of media, in a different location, with the added perk that it is available from any device with an internet connection, and can be automated to back up everything, always, so you don’t have to remember to do it. And don’t worry; any cloud storage provider worth their salt knows how to keep your data safe.

Visit How-to Geek for advice on the best cloud services, best cloud/external drive back up all-in-one, and a promotional code for two free months with Carbonite!

I like OneDrive because it is convenient and easy to use. It comes with 5 GB storage as part of the Microsoft Office Suite, which means you might already have access to it, especially if you are a student. An additional 50GB is available for $1.99 a month, and a terabyte is $6.99, along with the new versions of Office apps like Word and Excel. If you use a computer running Windows, a Microsoft-based cloud server is going to integrate seamlessly.

Google Drive is also awesome and makes sharing files with co-workers, teachers, and fellow students very easy. It integrates well with most systems, can handle any file type, and is a must if you use the Google Suite. You get 15 GB for free, 100 GB for $1.99 per month, 1 terabyte for $9.99 per month, and 10 terabytes for $99.99 per month.

For larger amounts of data backup, use an unlimited storage system like CrashPlan for about $5 a month.

The truly unique aspect of CrashPlan is that their free service gives you the option to quickly and easily backup your data wirelessly to another computer you have access to—ideally in another location, like a hard-drive at your office, or a friend’s house. Files are encrypted so you don’t have to worry about the privacy of your back-up.

Special thanks to How-To Geek for their tips about backing things up!

Don’t wait till something happens to your stuff to set up a backup system. Keeping all your eggs in one basket is asking to lose them. Baskets are not safe; get those eggs into the cloud!

What is your favorite cloud storage service? Or do you have a favorite external hard drive? Tweet at me!