I solemnly swear that I am up to no good. Wait, no, that’s for something else…. Here we go! The actual pledge is, “I solemnly swear to back up my important documents and precious memories on March 31.” That is the pledge for World Backup Day (www.worldbackupday.com), an organization whose goal is to make sure your personal data is safe. It is a noble mission, and B&H would like to do our part to spread the message and help provide some resources so you can start backing up.
This page is neither officially supported nor endorsed by World Backup Day.
What Would You Do If You Lost Everything?
It’s a chilling question, and hopefully something most of you haven’t had to deal with, but it is important to think about. If you lost your phone, or your laptop, or a hard drive, would you be able to get back all your family photos, important schoolwork, or once-in-a-lifetime videos? If you perform proper backups, then you should feel a lot better in your day-to-day life. A laptop that won’t boot up will be a headache, but it won’t cost you anything more than time and, potentially, money.
We support the initiative of World Backup Day, especially once you consider some of its stats. Reportedly, 30% of you have never backed up anything, one in every ten computers is infected with a virus each month, and 113 phones are lost or stolen every minute. Also, consider that 29% of disasters are caused by accident, so you might not have any control over whether you lose data. It’s more than just keeping your devices safe. That new Microsoft Surface Pro X you just picked up might be lightweight and super portable, but keep in mind that constant travel will make it more susceptible to drops and other hazards. And even if you only use your Dell Precision 5760 workstation on your desk, it could still suffer from an incidental water spill. You really don’t want to lose your precious data from a random accident.
Follow the 3-2-1 Rule
Luckily, there is an easy-to-understand method for keeping everything properly backed up and safe. It’s called the “3-2-1 rule.” You should have three copies of your data with the backups on two different forms of media and with one of these kept off-site. You can have a master, which is the data you are working from or constantly reading from, a local backup to an external hard drive, and then a third backup kept in a different location or via a cloud service. See? It’s quite easy.
I run everything photo and video from a G-Technology G-SPEED Shuttle RAID Array connected to my iMac at home. Then I back up important items to a secondary drive and I have a third drive I update when I visit my parents and hand it off to them. My dad trades me his own copy of family photos and important documents, as well, so that he can follow the 3-2-1 rule. It is a good plan because it works. Just ask a friend if they are willing to work with you and then both of you can be protected.
The Tools of the Trade
Unless you are quite familiar with computers, you may not know where to start when it comes to backing up your devices. This is where B&H can help! We have a ton of hard drive options and educational pieces to help you find what works best for you, as well as very helpful staff you can contact via chat or phone (800.606.6969 / 212.444.6615).
Here are the basics you should know.
First, everyone should start with the simple external hard drive. It’s the easiest to use and understand. Find a drive that is big enough for you and has the right connection. Personally, I’d spend a little more for speed, since backups usually end up being a lot of files and a lot of space, and any time saved here is a good thing. If you are just getting started, I’ve used the WD My Passport Wireless and have been very happy. Small and affordable, it should work for most people, and can be found in multiple colors if you want even more organized backups.
For more portability, durability, and speed, I would recommend an SSD such as the SanDisk Extreme Portable External SSD. SSDs are more reliable than spinning drives if you are on the move and are very fast. Another approach, if you aren’t in need of such a large backup, is to stick with a flash drive for your most precious data. The Kingston Data Travelercan even fit in nearly any pocket if you want to keep your dearest memories close to you. You can more easily mail these off-site to fulfill the final chain in a 3-2-1 backup system.
These are great for your personal laptop or home PC, where you have time to set it up and perform your backups and don’t have to rely on them for work. Just use Time Machine on a Mac or some backup software if you run Windows, and these drives should do the trick. If you want something more elaborate, or for workhorse devices, this is where you may want to investigate RAID or NAS storage. I like RAID because it can be configured in multiple ways so that you can gain speed, redundancy, or both. OWC makes the ThunderBay 4, as a good example of a RAID device, and it is very easy to set up and use. It will help protect data in the event of a drive failure and is quite fast. On the go? I use the LaCie Rugged RAID Pro in RAID 1 to offer an added level of protection while I’m traveling.
Another option is NAS, or Network-Attached Storage. This differs from the previously mentioned drives because it connects to your network. This is useful if you want to access it remotely, or from multiple devices in your network. Choosing between DAS (Direct-Attached Storage) and NAS can be tricky, so we do have a photography-focused article to help you make a decision. Looking for a good example of an NAS? The Drobo 5N2 5-Bay NAS Enclosure comes to mind.
One more thing may be helpful for travelers: wireless hard drives. When you are on the road, it can be extremely tough to follow any sort of backup protocol. Sometimes you won’t even have a laptop. That is where the GNARBOX 2.0 and other wireless drives can come in handy. Battery powered and with many featuring integrated SD card slots and USB ports, you can back up your files no matter where you are. Here’s a quick roundup of current models!
Although B&H doesn’t exactly have this in its inventory, consider cloud storage solutions. Amazon, Google, Backblaze, Dropbox… I could go on and on with current options. Each offers its own tiers and will require research because this is a continually changing field. The best parts about cloud storage are that it is off-site, so that is a secure level of protection, and you can access it from anywhere.
If this quick explanation of various drive types tells you anything, it’s that there is an abundance of options for protecting your data, so there is no excuse for not backing up all your important documents and photos. Make March 31 the day you pledge to protect your information and celebrate World Backup Day. Make sure you keep everything backed up regularly! This isn’t a once-a-year thing.
We want to know about your backup systems, so please drop by the Comments section, below, to share insights (or horror stories) on how and why to protect your data. And, if you need help getting set up yourself, be sure to ask questions below, contact our Sales Department via phone at 800.606.6969, or online chat.