There are a few reasons why you should get in the habit of backing up your computer data. First of all, there is a chance that something might happen to the hardware, like the hard drive.
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Cybersecurity threats are another reason. Malware or viruses may infect your computer and wipe files without leaving you the option to recover the data.
Lastly, someone may get access to the computer and delete files accidentally or on purpose.
Having a file copy gives you peace of mind because you can restore the data even if it disappears from the computer.
Out of all the ways to back up computer files, two stand out the most, especially if you are a regular person and not a business with vast amounts of data. These two ways are cloud storage and external devices like hard drives and USB drives.
Let’s take a look at both methods and cover their advantages and disadvantages
One of the biggest advantages of external backup devices is that you do not need to pay a monthly fee to get a decent amount of storage. Spending 50 or so bucks on a decent hard drive is more or less enough to set yourself up with a great way to safely store computer files.
At the same time, an external hard drive or even a USB flash is a physical object. Unlike clouds that store files digitally, having an external hard drive will mean that you will need to find a place to put it in your home.
Another small disadvantage could be for MacBook owners. Since most manufacturers pre-format their devices to read and write NTFS format. Unfortunately, NTFS for mac is tricky since you can only read the files but not modify them. There are third-party apps to overcome the obstacle, but it can still be a bother having to put an extra effort just to back up specific files.
On the other hand, if you use Windows instead of macOS, there should be no problems with NTFS in case you need to utilize these files.
Backing up data to external hard drives or USB sticks is pretty straightforward. If you are on a personal computer, mount the drive and copy the files from the computer to the drive.
For MacBook owners, things are a bit more complicated. You will need to combine the Time Machine together with an external hard drive to back up the macOS files.
Lastly, if you decide to use a USB stick instead of an external HDD because you do not have that much data transfer and backup, remember to get a 3.0 generation USB stick because their transfer rate is faster.
Cloud storage is the second method that we should cover. The concept is relatively similar to using external hard drives or USB sticks. However, you do not have to keep an extra piece of hardware with you. Besides, while HDDs and USB drives are durable, they are still limited to how long they can actually last.
Meanwhile, using services like iCloud and Dropbox means that the backup is digital. Besides, you can access the data from multiple devices. For example, the default Dropbox plan lets you sync three devices with the same account.
iCloud users can also create a mini-ecosystem between their apple devices. Thus, you can utilize cloud storage not just from the computer but also a smartphone or a tablet.
As a rule of thumb, the default cloud storage plans offer a few gigabytes of storage for free. iCloud gives its users five gigabytes of free space.
However, the amount is not enough most of the time, especially if there is a lot of data on your computer that you want to secure by backing it up.
Of course, cloud storage engineers are well aware of it, and they offer users the option to extend available space. There are usually a few plans that require a different monthly fee. You can get about 50 gigabytes for one dollar, 200 gigabytes for three dollars, and two terabytes for ten dollars.
While there are multiple cloud storage services, most of them offer similar prices in the spirit of fair competition. And despite the fact that you need to pay a monthly fee to store your files in clouds, you will also have peace of mind knowing that cloud storage is secure and there is very little possibility that something may happen to your files.
To sum it all up, both cloud storage and external HDDs or USB sticks provide a solid solution to backing up computer data. If you are set on backing your files, you could also consider using both methods and having two file copies instead of one, and the data would be on two different platforms.