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Prepare for any Data Recovery Emergency with These 5 Backup Tips

Losing data is enough to send chills down the spine of even the toughest tech expert. Viruses, malware, corrupted files, accidental deletion, and hardware failure are just a few of the things that could cause a loss of important data. Rather than remain at the mercy of the technology gods, check out the following five backup tips that will keep you prepared for any data recovery emergency:

Think About What's Most Important

Give yourself a moment to consider the most important data you want backed up. This includes personal photos and videos, music, documents, application data, and your system itself. Examples of documents requiring backup include spreadsheets and word processing files. Apps store information such as contacts, browser favorites, and email messages, with most programs keeping them safe in a folder inside your user folder.

As far as your system goes, it's always possible to reinstall apps and Windows if you have the original programs or can download them. However, if your hard drive crashes, you need to switch to a backup system, or a disaster recovery backup. It's quick and simple to create such systems and maintain them a few times a year to keep your laptop functional (and keep your sanity for when things go wrong).

Use a USB Drive or External Hard Drive

Purchase a USB drive, or an external hard drive that's easy to use. Simply plug the device into your PC or Mac; identify which files and folders to backup; and start the backup process. It's important to note that not all USB drives are created equal, so be sure to do your research and find a quality option that features plenty of storage space. USB drives are one of your 'local' backup options that allow you to store your data, take it with you, or stow away for safekeeping.

Use a Cloud Backup

Create a cloud backup, which stores your files online and allows you to access them anytime, anywhere. Password creation is generally part of the process to keep your files secure. Cloud backup is celebrated as one of the most secure and easily accessible (accessible to you, that is) methods available, but it generally requires paying for a subscription. A subscription isn't the worst thing when it comes to data backup, however. According to PC Magazine, some of the top cloud backup services include iDrive, CrashPlan, and SOS Online Backup.

Automate, Automate, Automate

Consider an automated backup option if your system features a fast Internet connection and you want to save your recent documents and applications on a daily basis. An automated backup that's permanently connected to your computer requires software installation but that's pretty much it. As with the Cloud, automated backup allows you to access your data from any computer that features Internet service.

Negatives of automated backup systems include how slow some of them are. Your first backup can take days if not weeks, and it's not the best system for videos and music. However, there are numerous viable systems available such as SpiderOak and Comodo that offer the versatility and affordability you need. Automated backup is yet another way to keep your data secure, so think about if it's right for your data storage requirements.

Don't Forget to Organize

Remember, whatever backup means you select, it's important to stay organized. If you consistently keep your files and data well ordered, you'll know exactly what requires recovery and can easily put items back where they belong.