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Sunday, March 31st, is World Backup Day, the day we technology folks remind you of how important it is to back up your data.
Considering our particular expertise, we tend to do this much more often than once per year, but will take this annual excuse to do it yet again!
Here’s the message to remember:
Your Data Is More Valuable Than Your Device
Hardware is cheap and getting cheaper. Do you know what’s expensive or even priceless? That term paper you spent three weeks writing, the $3,000 USD in music and movies you have on your hard drive, and the digital video of your little boy or girl’s first step.
You can get a new computer or phone, but try replacing those important files: You can’t!
So What Do You Do?
You back them up!
When you back up your data, you’re making a second copy of anything and everything that you don’t want to lose. Should something happen to the originals, you can restore the backups to your computer (or phone, tablet, etc.) with a backup service.
Technically, a backup just refers to any piece of data that exists in two places. The primary purpose of a backup is to have a recovery plan should the primary data become inaccessible, so it’s common to keep backups offsite like online or, at the very least, on a second hard drive, even another internal one.
Why You Should Back Up
There are several scenarios that could take place where having a backup of your data would be useful:
- Your phone gets stolen, and you lose all your pictures and videos
- An external hard drive crashes, deleting your home videos
- You forget your laptop in a cafe and you’ve lost all your homework
- A virus holds your data hostage until you pay to remove the restraints
- You accidentally delete something important
Your Backup Options
We’re huge fans of online backup services. Using a cloud backup service (what they’re sometimes called) is the easiest and most economical and effective way of keeping your important data safe.
See our reviews of online backup services for a ranked, updated list, complete with prices. Some plans allow an unlimited amount of storage, some limit you to so many GBs or TBs, some support backup from multiple simultaneous computers, some are even free for a just a little storage.
Have questions about online backup or not completely sure what it is? We answer most every question we’ve ever gotten about online backup in our Online Backup FAQ.
No matter what your needs are, we’ve done all the research to help you make the right decision. Aside from the list of reviews linked above, our online backup comparison chart is really helpful if you’re curious which of our favorite cloud backup services offer a particular feature.
Here are some more online backup resources you might find helpful:
- Backblaze Review (my personal favorite service)
- Unlimited Online Backup Plans
- Free Online Backup Plans
The reason online backup is so popular is because it provides an entirely separate location for the copies of your files. If your flash drive is your backup device, for example, and your laptop gets stolen with your flash drive plugged into it, the backup ends up being basically pointless.
We also keep lists of traditional backup software titles that are built not for online backup but for local backup, meaning that the files are saved to another local hard drive, or even to an FTP server or networked computer. See our free backup software tools and commercial backup software reviews for more information.
Here’s more about backing up:
Using a cloud storage service is another option for keeping your data safely backed up online. The difference between a cloud storage service and a cloud backup service is that the former usually does not let you back up data automatically and on a schedule, but instead is a place to selectively upload important files that you need to keep off of your physical device.
There are lots of cloud storage services to pick from, most of which offer a small free plan with upgrades available if you need more features or additional backup space.