Backups should be a part of your normal computer and phone routine – the same as you would with getting your oil changed. By doing so you can rest easy knowing that your data is available in the event of a cyber attack or if you make a grave mistake in the management of your files.
Unfortunately, it’s quite common that your average user treats data backups as a “chore”.
Perhaps part of the blame is that data backups and recovery does seem to be a chore because it takes a bit of configuration. You figure if people are still using common passwords then what’s the chance they’re going to be doing regular backups and know how to recover?
Let’s keep this as simple as possible:
1. Start developing a better foundation on how you store your files. Try to keep files neatly organized and labeled in their respective folders based on work, personal, and whatever else you may need. The point is to be able to easily access your files but also recover them without having to second guess if you’re missing key documents and folders.
2. Learn about local professionals that are able to do hardware recovery which will give you quick access to the skills and tools so you can bounce back with little downtime. Pull up Google and plug in your city + data recovery (e.g. Toronto hard drive recovery), take a look at their services, give them a call, and put them in your contacts for when the time is needed.
3. Purchase a USB flash drive and copy over the most important files to this device. Create a notepad that logs when these backups have occurred. Store this flash drive in a safe location such as in a fireproof lock box.
4. Sign up for the basic cloud-base backup services such as Google Drive, Microsoft One Drive, or Dropbox. Remember that not all online data is 100% secure so try to refrain from placing any highly sensitive data on these platforms. Try to keep it to everyday-type data. You can also download their extensions so when you save they are automatically synced.
5. Repeat steps 2-4 for other gadgets you own such as your phone or tablet because it’s likely many accounts are shared from your computer (the ecosystems). Copy file backups from the phone/tablet, get them on a drive, and uploaded to the cloud. Do this the same time you do normal backups and you’ll get it all done in one swoop.
6. Revise your passwords. It’s likely they haven’t been updated in quite some time so do that now but make sure they aren’t just the same one with an extra character. Consider using password management services which will give you an additional layer of security.
7. Lock down the user permissions to the system (at business or at home if the computer is used by other family members). There’s no reason for an employee to have access to data that’s not in their duties – the same can be said with family members if you don’t want, for example, your child having access to important files. The easiest way to go about this is through profiles.
8. Take some time to secure the physical access to the system(s). Theft is all-too-real and you never know if you may at the will of mother nature. You pretty much get the idea here – keep it physically safe even if you’re doing off-site backups.
9. Install or update all those firewalls and computer security programs. Do the same for operating system updates and application patches. This shouldn’t take too long; you can set it to update overnight if you want, too.
10. Make it a point that you take these actions at least on some quarterly basis or after a big shift in your lifestyle (such as after a move, change of job, or upgrading a system). Kind of make it like getting an oil change and set up a reminder.
Do all these and you’re already in the top percenters of personal security and recovery. You can see that the most difficult part is just getting it done and not treating it like some dreadful chore. It’s maintenance – plain and simple – so bite the bullet and don’t become a victim of data breach or worse… self-sabotage.