The importance of regular backups

Our personal data is arguably priceless compared to that of, say company data, which can relatively speaking, be easily replaced. Those embarrassing photos that you now look back on and laugh about are irreplaceable, that exact moment can never be replicated – so data loss should be avoided, and when it can’t be avoided, it should be mitigated to the fullest extent. To achieve this, it is necessary to have backups of your personal data. There are many options when it comes to backing up your data, so where should you start? Well that depends on a few factors. Firstly, cost is an obvious starting point. There are ‘free’ services that will offer gigabytes (GB) worth of online storage for no financial cost. I stress the word financial, which leads into the next consideration for your backup solution – privacy.

Privacy is often overlooked by people because most people generally don’t look past the ‘free’ aspect of the services and don’t consider what is happening to their data (or simply don’t care). There are many examples of large companies misusing customer information in the form of selling their data to marketers and other agencies, the prominent contemporary of which being the Cambridge Analytica scandal that Facebook was caught up in. However, it is almost unavoidable at this point to completely ditch all of these services – due to their massive financial backing they have the means to provide much more than their open source counterparts. I am a huge supporter of open source software and take advantage of many open source programs and services, though I am still guilty of using these ‘free’ services – even if it is minimally. If you have an Android phone you are inevitably using Google’s services by default and the alternative of using a custom Android operating system such as LineageOS is more effort than many are willing to deal with.

There are, however, other considerations for backing up your data. One of the mantras of data backups is for them to be ‘regular, and off-site’. Regular, to minimise data loss if anything happens to your device, or if you accidentally delete data. Off-site so that again if anything happens to your device, the data is safe. The off-site aspect is generally more for if there’s a fire – this ensures that the backup doesn’t get destroyed along with the primary data. We will cover backup solutions and services in future posts. Stay tuned!

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About Braeden Mitchell

Braeden is currently studying a Master's in Information Security and freelancing as an IT consultant