This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Carbonite. All opinions are 100% mine.
Are you backing up your computer data? Many people aren’t, and this is a big mistake… especially if you work from home.
Your computer is where you store all kinds of important files and information — commonly referred to as “data.” Often, all this data is yours. But sometimes, it’s confidential information that belongs to other people. We hear these small business stories daily.
Just think about it. Your music, photos and documents are data, but there’s a lot more to it. There’s the sensitive information — things like scanned birth certificates and tax records.
It gets more complicated if you work from home. If you’re a blogger, you’ve got your blog’s backups, all your content and media, and even photos of blog projects you haven’t written up yet. If you’re a freelancer, you’ve also likely got client files stored on your computer, too — and that data isn’t necessarily yours. And all your electronic business records are stored on your computer, too — things like your P&L and your accounting software.
Reasons Your Data May Be Lost
There are countless ways you may experience a data loss. Here are just a few:
A power surge or lightning strike could take out your desktop.
Liquid spilled on your keyboard could short-circuit the whole thing.
Natural disasters like fires, floods, and bad storms can crush or otherwise destroy your computer (and everything else you own).
You accidentally delete something permanently.
Your computer just “dies” unexpectedly, and there’s no way to get it to work.
Computer viruses and malware are getting more sinister and more prevalent. The worst of them will physically destroy the inner workings of your computer, leaving your data irretrievable.
Damage. I was the one who dropped my laptop and damaged the hard drive, but it could have been anyone else in the house. If your computer is ever in the presence of someone else (like a family member, or at a coffee shop) it’s also at risk of anything they might do, intentionally or not. Spills, bumps, you name it and it could happen to you.
You just never know what could happen, or when. Like any tragic loss, we often don’t see it coming, and by the time it happens, it’s too late. If you’ve got a computer at home, you need to be backing it up, without question. Not backing up your system is simply asking for heartbreak.
Why I Never Have to Worry About Losing My Data
The importance of data protection is a painful lesson I learned years ago. Nowadays, I have a no-fail system for backing up my data. What’s especially great is that I don’t even have to think about it. I had to set it up, but after that, it just runs itself automatically in the background.
Now, I know all my important computer data is safe, no matter what.
How to Back Up Your Data
There are two main ways you can back your data up — locally, or in the cloud. A “local” backup is one that you do at your computer. Generally speaking, it’s an external hard drive or some other media where you’ll copy your files onto a physical device and keep it in your house. Many of us have an external hard drive hooked up to the computer to do an automatic backup every night.
You can also do a local backup and then send your physical data off-site, like to a safe deposit box or your mother’s house. Having your data off-site makes it safer (because if your house burns down, it won’t be affected) but it’s also more difficult to keep up with, and you’re less likely to do it.
The other way to back your data up is to do it in “the cloud.” This involves sending your data, over the internet, to an off-site location where your data is copied and stored. There are companies that offer this service, and it’s best to look into the different ones and see what works best for you.
What to Look for In a Data Backup System
These are some things to consider for your data backup system, whether you’re doing it yourself or hiring a service:
Ease of use. If it’s a pain to get it done, it probably won’t happen.
Safety. Local backups are great to have, especially in those times when your computer gets a virus or you accidentally delete an important client file (so you can just get the new one instead of going hat-in-hand to the client to ask for another copy). But if you lose your computer in a natural disaster, like a flood or fire, your backups are probably going to be lost, too.
Convenience. The more automatic your backup is, the better off you’ll be. You don’t have to remember to do it, fiddle with the technology, or even lift a finger — it just runs without you.
Access. Having an external hard drive in a safe deposit box is extremely safe, but it’s not very accessible. Having an external hard drive is easy to access, but it’s not as safe. Having a cloud-based backup is both safe and easy to access, as long as you trust the service provider.
It's up to you to protect your data. Your home business depends on it.