Cloud service providers can crash, or worse delete your files. Or, your external hard drives could get damaged. It's always good to have fail safes ready for your data. Let's look at an easy guide to back up your files.
The 3-2-1 Rule
When backing up your files, the 3-2-1 rule is a great way to start. There should be three copies of data, two of those on different media, and at least one copy stored off-site.
To conserve space, this should only be used for the most critical data.
If you're backing up financial documents for example, put a copy in the cloud, a copy on your external drive, and another copy on a NAS.
Next, choose one of those devices and store it at another location outside your home.
You could use a safety deposit box or ship it to an off-site data storage facility. This ensures that natural disasters don't destroy all your copies of files.
If an unfortunate disaster does happen, you should obtain one of your backups and start the 3-2-1 process over again.
Backing up your data requires frequent monitoring and maintenance.
What Should You Use?
There are two types of external drives you can buy: HDDs (hard disk drives) or SSDs (solid-state drives). SSDs are much faster and more portable than HDDs, but more expensive.
When picking a drive, make sure the file format works with your computer - Mac and Windows use different formats.
A cloud storage service will offer a certain amount of space on its servers for a monthly fee. Most providers encrypt your data while it's being transferred.
Companies like Google and Dropbox are the most common. But keep in mind these providers are not very private.
Some more private alternatives include Sync, Mega, and pCloud.
Network Attached Storage (NAS) is a dedicated server that provides storage for a home or business. It's like an external drive with a wireless network.
If your computer crashes your data will still be safe on the NAS. Unlike cloud storage, no third parties are handling your data and keeping logs of network activity.
Practice the 3-2-1 rule when backing up your files.
Make three copies, be sure to have at least two of them on different storage types, and take one of them to another location that isn't your house.
As far as what type of storage media you use, there are plenty of options out there.
Consider an external drive for storage when there's no internet. Cloud storage is a solid alternative for accessing critical files on the go.
And a NAS has the best of both an external drive and cloud storage. You just don't have to worry about corporations having access to your files.