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How to backup your computer and why

05 October 2017

For most of us, our entire digital lives are on our computers, phones or tablets. Everything from precious family photos to music, important documents and data. Losing this important and sometimes irreplaceable information can be both heart-breaking and costly. If you've ever experienced hardware failure, theft or malware infection, you'll know how much of a frustrating experience this can be. Ensure your information is protected by backing it up regularly and securely. We take a look at how to backup your computer below.

Why backup?

Over the last 24 months we've experienced two of the biggest ransomware attacks in history: 'Petya' and 'Wannacry', affecting over 100 countries world-wide. Ransomware is a type of malware (malicious software), which takes the form of an application (a file) that's inadvertently downloaded to your computer. It then locks the computer and holds its contents to ransom. If you're the victim of a ransomware attack you have two options:

  1. Pay the ransom. If you choose to do this, you have no guarantee that whoever is holding your information hostage will comply, which can leave you out of pocket and still without your files
  2. Wipe your computer and start again. This will result in losing any data that has not been backed up.

Ransomware is just one reason to backup your data, but it highlights the potential ramifications for yourself or your business if your data privacy or security is compromised.

How to backup your data

You can backup your computer data in two ways: to a physical storage location, e.g. an external hard drive or USB. Or, to online cloud storage. Explore the benefits of each backup option to decide what method is best for your data.

Keep it in-house: self-storage backup

Ensure the safety of your data privacy and security by backing it up to a physical storage device. Physical storage is storing your data "the old-fashioned way", and it can have several advantages.

  1. You know exactly where your data is. With cloud storage, your data might be sitting on a server somewhere in Arizona
  2. Cloud storage is only as safe as your password. Physical storage, however, can be safely in your possession always. It is wise to protect your physical hardware with password encryption as well, just in case you accidentally misplace your drive.

Store it in the cloud

Cloud storage is the storage of your items off-site – usually on a server somewhere. Using cloud storage to backup your data is becoming increasingly popular for a few main reasons.

  1. Cloud storage allows you to access your data anywhere, anytime. No need to carry around bulky hard drives
  2. Cloud storage is often an automated process, taking the hassle out of having to remember to do a backup
  3. Cloud storage capacity can potentially be unlimited. This is of course dependant on your cloud storage provider.

Remember, moving your files from one location to another is not a backup. Ideally you should have your files in multiple locations, because if one source is compromised then you have another to fall back on. However you backup your computer, ensure you or your business complete backups regularly so you're not reverting to out of date versions or losing data entirely if you ever need to retrieve the backup.

After more information on how best to backup your business files? Visit Stay Smart Online for helpful tips on how to secure your important data.

Want to know more about malware, viruses, and encryption? We've created a Security Term Glossary to help you understand some common online security terms.

Information is intended to be of a general nature only and any advice has been prepared without taking into account any person's particular objectives, financial situation or needs. You should make your own enquiries, consider whether advice is appropriate for you and read the relevant Product Disclosure Statement or Product Information Document before making any decisions about whether to acquire a product.

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