Your information is, at its most basic, yours. This article isn’t about how to keep someone else from getting it, it’s about how to keep it available to you.
Backing up your devices is important. If you have a device get stolen, break, crash, or mysteriously get thrown through the washing machine rinse cycle, you‘ll be thankful that you backed up the information stored on it.
Another reason to back up your information is ransomware. Ransomware is extremely expensive to deal with if you’re not prepared, and can even hit you hard if you have good backups on file. Some hacker groups won’t extort you until they know they have your backups compromised as well, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t back up your info. Backups make their jobs much more difficult, and if you set them up properly they won’t take much time out of your regular day-to-day use.
How to back up your phone
Your phone is the #1 most likely device to need to be replaced, since it’s with you through thick, thin, wet, and dry. You probably have most of the things you use on your phone backed up to one system or another, but it’s a good idea to check. If you check and it’s already set up, you’ve wasted a few minutes. If you don’t check and it’s not set up properly, you could be SOL next time you get pushed into a swimming pool.
Here is a good article by AndroidCentral on how to make sure the data on your android phone is updated.
Here are the Apple support website instructions on how to back up your iOS mobile devices.
How to back up your computer
Your computer is less likely to get tossed in a puddle, but still needs to be backed up. You will want to have an external hard drive that is the same size or bigger than the hard drive you have installed in your computer.
Plug in your external hard drive, then follow the instructions on the Microsoft Support page here. Once your back up is complete, make sure to unplug your external hard drive. That way, if your computer gets hacked, your hard drive isn’t vulnerable to the hackers who have access to your computer.
Apple has a few options for Mac computers — you can back up your files to iCloud, create a physical backup using an external hard drive and Time Machine, or both. Both is the best option, in my opinion.
Follow the instructions on this Apple Support page to set up backups on your Mac computer. Make sure to unplug your external hard drive when your backup is complete so that your hard drive isn’t vulnerable if your computer gets hacked.
Here is a good article by How-To-Geek on setting up Simple Backup on a Linux machine. If you choose to use one, make sure to unplug your external hard drive when your backup is complete so that your hard drive isn’t vulnerable if your computer gets hacked.
Backing up your important information is an important aspect of good digital hygiene. Keeping your devices in the proper state of “cleanliness” will make things easier when (not if, when) something happens to your information online.
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Internet Proverb photo provided by Hunter James on Unsplash and edited by me.