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Backing up Your Data

Contrary to popular opinion, backing up your data is actually a very simple process:

  1. Make copies of your important files
  2. Store them outside of your computer

There are many ways to perform backups, and you should choose the method which you are most comfortable with, and which is appropriate to your data. In information technology, we follow what we call the 3-2-1 Rule:

  • At least three copies (the original files count as one copy);
  • On two different types of media (your computer’s hard disk, a flash drive, and a cloud-based backup service are examples);
  • One copy in a different location, such as the previously mentioned cloud-based backup service, a safety-deposit box at your bank, etc.

The purpose of all of this is redundancy. The more individual copies of your data that you have, the more likely it is that you’ll be able to recover your important data when something goes wrong. It is very important to choose backup procedures which you can understand; if you aren’t familiar with how your backup procedures work and how your data is stored, you might not be able to identify when something goes wrong. The day that your computer’s hard disk fails is a very bad time to learn that your backups have been failing to work for several months.

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