Your data is anything you have stored on your primary computing device that is important to you – documents, pictures, videos, music. It is only as safe as the device it is stored on.
1. No backup = NO SECURITY
If your data is only stored on your primary device (eg your laptop) then you have one set of data and no backup. If this device fails or is lost you have also lost your data
2. One backup – on user owned device = SOME SECURITY:
In this scenario you have an external hard drive or network storage that you use to backup the important data from your primary device. *Note that flash drives are not considered to be a reliable form of backup storage – they are designed for the transport of data, not long-term storage.
A backup device works best with backup software installed on your computer. This enables backups to be automated.
Apple provides an excellent integrated automatic backup solution for their OSX devices called Time Machine.
Most external hard drives come with automated backup software pre-installed. 3rd party backup applications are also available.
3. Two backups – on user owned device and in the cloud = HIGH SECURITY
An additional safeguard is off-site storage, such as in the “cloud”. The “cloud” refers to off-site, remote services. In this scenario you have three copies: one on the primary device, one on the backup device and one in the cloud. The likelihood of loosing your data is extremely low.
Some cloud storage options:
Google Drive is a cloud service that allows you to create, save and upload documents and pictures to the cloud to be stored on Google’s own hard drives. With Google Drive also installed on your computer you can retain your own copy of the data, synchronizing it with copies on Google’s servers. Google drive is cross platform so can be used on Mac, Windows and Android devices.
Microsoft OneDrive is a similarly integrated online office suite and data synchronization service providing online document creation, editing and collaboration. OneDrive is cross platform so can be used on Mac, Windows and Android devices. It is integrated with Office 365 which is now available for free to Tarremah students here: http://products.office.com/en-us/student
Apple’s iCloud is a cloud based data synchronization service.
Other cloud services like DropBox do not offer integrated tools like word processing but do allow you to synchronize your data off-site, with 5GB for free:
Alternatives to Dropbox:
What about Tablets and smartphones?
iOS devices like iPads and iPhones can be backed up using iTunes (by connecting the device to your computer by cable or wirelessly) and iCloud. Apps can be downloaded from iTunes at any time so need not be backed up.
Android devices can use Google Drive and the various backup and sharing services offered by Google via their Google account service. Apps can be downloaded from Play Store, so need not backed up. Also, because Android enables access to the device’s filing system it is also possible to manually backup data from an Android device by connecting it to a PC or Mac.