What’s the difference?
When you back-up your data, that is a different thing from syncing your data. A back-up is a copy used for safety and archiving. It’s not supposed to change. When a glitch, breakdown, or an accident happens, you can revert or refer to a back-up to get the original, un-FUBAR’d copy of whatever it is you lost or was corrupted.
A back-up what you go back to in case something happens to your current set-up. When you have a back-up strategy and keep you back-ups current, if something happens to your data today, you won’t lose much time recreating your data since you have a recent copy close by.
Syncing — keeping multiple copies stored and updated to current versions — is what you do so you can access the same data across computers and/or devices. When you’re synced, you can access the same data wherever you go, whatever you use. This helps people on the move keep their data updated whether they access it at home, on the go, or at work, as long as their devices are online.
Having a reliable back-up means that if you suffer the blue-screen of death or whatever mishap that takes your system down, versioning can help you roll-back to an un-infected or uncorrupted state. Having reliable syncing enabled means you’re updated wherever you are, whatever you use.
The issue sometimes with online data storage is this: cloud storage can be virtual mirroring. You can delete a file from your personal device and the delection can be mirrored in your online storage, and then synced across your devices. Yay for technology.
But what if the deletion was made by mistake? Maybe you overwrote a file by not paying attention. Maybe your hand slipped. The ferret walked over the keyboard. A hiccup happened. That’s where back-ups help.
Ground rules for data protection.
- Whenever you have important data (content, website, designs, portfolio, recipes, photos), the standard practice is to keep three backups: one electronic, one physical, and one off-site.
- Keep one back-up at-hand for faster restoration and to regain services quickly, and one off-site for additional security.
- Update your back-ups regularly, you’re only as updated as your last one.
- Currently, your choices are basically spread among external hard-drives, flash-drives, archival quality DVDs, cloud storage, and NAS (network attached storage), so think about what you need and personalize your system.
The Computer Backup Rule of Three (Scott Hanselman)
Hanselman also has related articles linked in that provide helpful insight as to what to look for in creating your own system. His advice is mostly based on being the family go-to guy for everything ‘internet’, including data storage, so go read those too.
On Losing Data and a Family Backup Strategy (Scott Hanselman)
Here he explains why you have to make it obvious to everyone involved what they need to know just in case data is lost.
Backups—The Rule of Three (Pegeen Turner, Lawtechnologytoday.org)
A very short read with relevant insight on how to ensure that backups can help business run smoothly in a law firm.
Whether it’s personal data or business data, good data hygiene practices shouldn’t be left to chance. B2B accounts get an extra layer of protection in that it’s the other business’s business to make sure your business data is protected and accessible for you 24/7/365.
On your side of the computer screen, you can guard against corruption, malware, and other well-known threats by employing recommended computing habits: Protect your passwords, they’re the keys to your privacy. Protect your data, they’re personal and business assets.
Additional resources: Here’s a compilation of recent reviews for free and paid online data storage providers.
The Best Free Online Storage Sites on the Web (Wendy Boswell, Lifewire)
The Best Online Storage Services of 2017 (Jeph Preece , TopRTenreviews.com)
Very well written analysis and breakdown of what to look for in an online service, plus they have their best recommendations in an ordered manner so you can pick on your own what suits your situation. For the record, their top three are Idrive, Google Drive, and Dropbox Pro, in that order.
24 Online Backup Services Reviewed (Tim Fisher, Lifewire.com) breaks down 24 different services in their festures, ease of use, and pricing. The article also include links to different kinds of online backup (free, unlimited, business) as well as 34 free back-up software tools.
How to Create a Strong Password (and Remember It) (Chris Hoffman, HowToGeek)
Google on creating a strong password (Official Google Accounts help)
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