Data backup has always been important but it also used to be somewhat simpler. You had one or two computers at home to worry about.
As we keep bringing more and more devices into our homes our digital data footprints keep getting bigger and more difficult to secure. Each additional device that we bring into our households creates another opportunity for loss, security breach or physical damage. This ends up costing us money, time and happiness. It also makes data backup more complicated.
How upset would you be if you lost your smartphone and all the data on it? What if you lost your photo library (on your computer) with thousands of family pictures collected over years?
Data backup for your smartphone and tablet
A few years ago I switched from an iPhone to an inexpensive Android phone. It feels good to not worry about damage or loss of a pricey device.
As far as my smartphone data is concerned I only care about my contacts and my photos. Both are automatically backed up to my free Google account using Google Contacts and Google Photos. Easy and essentially unlimited contact and photos backup at no cost.
For iPhones, your best bet is to use iCloud. If you want to just set it up and forget it, you will need to upgrade your iCloud plan since by default you only get 5GB. That isn’t enough if you’re hoping to backup your music and photos. $2.99/month gets you 200GB which should be enough for most people.
Data backup for your computer
In my experience most hard drives seem to fail between 3 and 5 years depending on usage. You need to make sure you have your data backed up for when that day finally comes. While you could get an external hard drive to back up to, it will also fail at some point.
Some kind of cloud backup is the best option in this case if you have a reliable internet connection. To keep things consolidated you can stick with iCloud to backup your Mac or Google to backup your PC. As your data grows you will need to spend more money in order to back everything up. Also, iCloud is limited as to what it backs up on your Mac.
To avoid worrying about data caps you could sign up for Carbonite or Backblaze. Both offer unlimited backup per device and are reasonably priced. Carbonite costs $6 per month and Backblaze costs $5 per month.
The initial backup process to a cloud service can sometimes take weeks or months depending on the amount of data you have, your internet connection and backup configuration. A full data restore can also take a long time. Both the initial backup and full restore could incur additional charges from your ISP if you go over your limit.
If you want to be extra secure, you should implement both local and online backup solutions. Local backup will provide a faster backup and restore process. Your online option can then be used for piece of mind. For anyone that needs cloud backup for multiple devices and you don’t need unlimited storage, get iDrive ($6.95/month for 2TB).
Data backup is not optional
How you decide to backup your devices is up to you. Just make sure to do it. Identify the data that you can’t afford to lose and then find a backup option that works for you. Compare the cost of the backup solution you choose to what it would cost you to recover that data. Most people couldn’t afford the costs associated with data recovery by a professional service like Drive Savers.
After you select a backup option set a schedule to make sure that the service is working as it should. You can check on it once per week or month to make sure that your data is being successfully backed up.