One of the most important tasks for protecting your data is performing backups of your data on a consistent schedule – a task most people neglect. There is also the scenario where data is backed up but the user keeps the backup device in their house which does not protect their data if something happens to their home (hopefully not).
The best backup plan is one that happens with the least amount of effort, occurs at least weekly and stores data in an off-site location. Though there several methods that can implemented to accomplish a good backup strategy one of the easiest is to use an online backup service.
An online backup service allows you to back up your data to an online service provider on the Internet or “the cloud.” These services either allow you to schedule your backup or manually upload your files. In addition, the services provide different levels of backup plans depending on the amount of data to be backed up along with the amount of data that you need to store.
There are many vendors providing online backup services for both home users and businesses. Some of these vendors are will know and have moved their services into the cloud. Other vendors are new to the market and specialize in in backup only. There are also vendors that have both traditional and cloud based services packaged as one service. For example, Norton 360 provides local virus scanning and protection along with the option to back up your data to your online Norton account.
Selecting which solution works best for you is a based on numerous factors including features, cost, security, ease-of-use and reviews of the product. The first step should be determining how much data you need to backup. This should include all files, emails, address books, music and photos. Once you have an understanding of the amount then you can review the different services and solutions available.
For example, if you run Norton and the amount of data that you have falls within the range for the free backup service included with the software then that might be the best solution. If you have more data then you need to explore additional options online. Each service has a different level of free storage with additional storage available for a monthly fee. You might still be able to back up your data for free or low cost depending on the service.
Things to consider:
- You can conserve space in your backup by only backing up necessary files or files that change all the time. Files such as pictures and music can be backed up to an external drive and stored at off-site location.
- If you are not sure of the reputation of an online backup provided then you should Google them for reviews from other users. If you don’t feel comfortable with the service then don’t use them.
- Make sure any service that you use provides encryption of you data while transmitting and while stored.