Backup is therefore the best solution for storing it in a durable way, by creating copies of this data on different media from the devices on which your data is stored.Indeed, much data is intended to be stored over the long term, while computer equipment has a limited lifespan. That’s why it’s essential to learn how to back up your data effectively .
Note: We are not talking here about the “Save” function of the software but about creating copies of files on multiple devices.
1. Data backup: what should be prioritised?
We produce a lot of data every day. However, not all of our data has the same value . Indeed, depending on the context, personal or professional for example, certain data will be more or less important to you. As part of your personal activities, you will most likely give much more importance to your memories – such as photos or videos from your vacation – or even to your contact list than to a cooking recipe that you could easily find.
Therefore , not all data needs to be backed up .
Moreover, even within the data that you wish to keep, all do not need to be saved with the same frequency : a work file that you enrich as you go must be saved very regularly while photos or videos that will not undergo further editing only need to be saved once. In this case, how do you choose what to back up?
Here are some simple reflexes to help you identify the information to be protected and the frequency with which it should be.
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1. Identify the devices on which the data is stored.
For example: your computer, your mobile phone (smartphone), your tablet, a server, a hard drive, a USB key, etc.
2. Identify, for each device, the data that needs to be backed up.
Often, these are files stored on your device’s hard drive: files, images, videos, etc. To find out if this data should be backed up, ask yourself the following questions:
What data will not be recoverable if something goes wrong with my device?
Which files do I consult and modify most often?
What information do people ask me most often?
These data are the ones that must be backed up first.
3. Determine how often each piece of data should be backed up.
To do this, evaluate the importance of the data and the frequency with which you modify it.
For instance :
A working file that you work on every day may need to be backed up several times a day.
Your vacation photo folder will only need to be backed up after each return from vacation.
2. How to choose your backup solution?
There are many backup solutions. We can group them into two categories:
External storage solutionsFor example: an external hard drive, a USB key, a memory card, a DVD, etc.
Online storage solutions
For example: “cloud” solutions which are free or paid online services depending on the desired storage capacity. Internet service providers (ISPs) and specialised companies offer this type of service.
Faced with these many options, how should you choose the backup solution that best suits your needs?Four criteria must be taken into consideration: the backup frequency , the size of the files to be kept, the price of the solutions and the risks to which they are exposed.
1. The necessary backup frequency
When data must be backed up regularly, it is essential to select an easy-to-use and automated backup system.
For files that you modify daily, using the cloud can be interesting. You can schedule backups at regular intervals or, even better, benefit from a continuous automatic recording feature. In this way, your data will be saved automatically after each modification.
This solution is often more convenient than manual backups to external storage devices. On the contrary, when data only requires occasional backups, external storage solutions prove to be just as advantageous, or even more secure, than online storage solutions.
2. The size of the files to be backed up
Not all backup solutions are suitable for copying large files.
To protect videos or photos, for example, external storage is more suitable: external devices often offer larger storage spaces, at a lower price compared to online solutions.
3. The price of backup solutions
The budget is also a criterion to be taken into account.
External backup solutions are paid for once, at the time of purchase.
In the medium and long term, they are cheaper than online solutions. The storage space / price ratio is often more advantageous as well.
Online backup solutions , such as the cloud .
Free offers for storing your backups online exist, but are generally limited in size and services. You will therefore sometimes have to resort to paid solutions to obtain the service you expect such as more storage space, customer support service, advanced features such as automatic backup, etc. To use these services, you will usually have to pay a monthly or annual subscription to take advantage of them.
3. How do I back up regularly?
It is not enough to choose the data to be backed up and the storage solutions to adopt: you still have to think about making the backups ! However, for the majority of files, backup is only effective if it is frequent .
We therefore recommend that you set up a procedure to remember to frequently protect your data. Complete steps 1 and 2 in this guide to determine what data to back up, how often to back up, and appropriate backup solutions.
Schedule the backups you need to perform manually by scheduling reminders on your “virtual calendar” or by writing them in your calendar.
In the professional context, consider formalising this backup procedure and specifying which employee must perform the backup, and how often.