Security

Video: Top 5 ways to back up your data

Use these five backup methods before disaster strikes. One day, you might be glad you did.

You know you're supposed to back up your data. I'm glad I did. A failed NAS meant some episodes of this show were almost lost to the ether. I had deleted four of them from my main laptop. When I got the call to see if I had copies of the "lost episodes of Top 5," I was very glad for Apple's Time Capsule.

So let's just all review the these five ways to back up your data:

1. First and foremost, back up your data locally. Have a hard drive on your network that you regularly copy everything over to. That way if your remote backup has a problem — a server crashes, a cloud business goes bankrupt, etc., you're still covered.

2. Remotely. Copy all that data somewhere far away from you and do it regularly. That way if your local copy has a problem — fire, flood, drive corruption, you're still covered.

3. Cold storage. For data you don't need to have at the ready, just burn it off on discs, tapes or flash drives. You can keep that stuff in a safe and for extra safety in multiple locations.

4. Automate It! Avoid that sinking feeling of having forgotten to sync manually. Make as many backups as you can without your needing to remember to do it.

5. Versioned backups, sometimes called progressive backups. This is what saved my bacon with the almost lost episodes of Top 5. Don't just overwrite old data but use software to keep versions so you can go back and get data that would otherwise be deleted.

It's a cold world out there when you lose a file. But it warms up quick when you find out those crazy backup precautions you took paid off!

About Tom Merritt

Tom is an award-winning independent tech podcaster and host of regular tech news and information shows. Tom hosts Sword and Laser, a science fiction and fantasy podcast, and book club with Veronica Belmont. He also hosts Daily Tech News Show, coverin...

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