Digital personal data includes your passwords, documents, photos, videos, and essentially everything else that is stored on your personal devices. Now, imagine losing a majority, if not all, of that data in one go. Where would you even begin to pick up the pieces?
As you can imagine, losing personal data can be a nightmare. And there are so many ways that can happen. You can lose your data when you become a victim of a cyberattack, when you damage your device, or when you accidentally delete everything (improbable, but it can still happen), among many other ways. But one thing is certain: losing personal data can significantly impact your life.
To prevent that from happening, creating backups for your data is an essential step. Here are the different ways you can back up your personal data and their respective pros and cons.
Storing your data in the cloud is one of the best ways to protect it from loss or theft. For one, it’s way cheaper than using physical devices to store your data. To illustrate, storing your photos on an online photo storage platform costs less than, say, using a hard drive or on multiple USB sticks. Here are its other advantages–as well as disadvantages.
- You can access your data anywhere as long as you have an Internet connection
- It is often free (up to a certain capacity) or cheaper than physical storage
- Data is protected with end-to-end encryption
- You can automatically sync changes to your files across all devices
- Cloud storage providers comply with security regulations that protect your data
- It’s easier to share files with others
- You can only store a limited amount of data for free; after that, you have to pay for additional storage capacity
- You need the Internet to access files and sync changes
- The cloud storage provider may shut down
USB flash drive
USB flash drives or thumb drives are small storage devices that you can carry anywhere conveniently. They are generally inexpensive and are often a necessity among students, professionals, and other people who need physical data storage that is highly portable.
- They are affordable; more so now than they were back then
- Higher-priced flash drives can transfer files fast
- They are highly portable; makes for quick and easy file sharing between devices
- Due to their size, they are easier to lose and are thus not ideal for crucial files or highly sensitive information
- Storage capacities are often limited to small sizes
- They cannot be used again after being corrupted with malware or viruses
External hard drive
Hard drives are a big step up from USB flash drives. They are bigger in size and capacity, as well as faster and more reliable. The two types of external hard drives are the hard disk drive (HDD) and the solid-state drive (SSD). HDDs are less expensive but are more susceptible to failure when they sustain damage. SSDs, on the other hand, are more expensive but are less likely to reformat when damaged because they have no moving parts.
- They are easy to use and can transfer files faster than flash drives
- Storage capacity is large–up to 5TB of data
- You can schedule backups automatically with the use of software
- They are highly portable
- They are easy to lose but not as easy as USB flash drives
- HDDs can stop working completely if dropped
- They need to be connected to your computer all the time if you want regular backups
- Some hard drives are prone to overheating
- Accidental interruption can corrupt the hard drive and its contents
CD or DVD
Yes, CDs and DVDs are still a thing. Although most people don’t even use discs anymore, they are still a reliable way to back up data. This method of backing up data is ideal for files that you don’t need to access regularly, such as old photos, seasonal files, home videos, and much more. Just make sure to back up your data using a newer method before discs become totally obsolete.
- You don’t need to worry about drive failure
- They are extremely reliable physical storage devices
- You can store them in a secondary location to keep your files safe
- Future technology may not include disc drives anymore
- They have limited storage capacities
- Backing up data is usually tedious
These are not the only ways you can back up your data, but these are the most common ones. Whatever method of backing up you choose, the most important thing is to keep multiple backups in case one fails.