What’s the best way to secure your data?

If you’re like me, the information stored on your computer is your life.

But it seems that computer data is a rare combination of super important, extremely fragile, and almost the least worried about. There’s a certain amount of complacency when it comes to data security.Most people rest comfortably with the idea that data will simply be there when a person turns on their computer. But all it takes is one time to lose everything to make anyone a firm believer in data back up and information security.

Here’s a couple tips.

Cloud Storage

For a monthly fee you can store your important computer data to a remote server somewhere and keep it safe no matter what happens to your computer.

This is where it gets hairy. There’s a few low-cost back-up solutions out there that do pretty much the same thing, Mozy, Carbonite, A-drive, etc. and the one that people ultimately go with usually depends on how good their marketing campaigns were that week.

My personal favorite is got to be A-drive. Really it all boils down to my favorite four letter word beginning with the letter F.

Free.  A-drive will give you 50 Gb worth of space  on their servers for free. There are some limitations but that’s still really cool. Then for $7/month they’ll take off the restrictions, add some seriously levels of security, and automatically upload the files you specify daily, so you never have to worry if your data is secure.  Worth every penny.

As for my second favorite four letter word beginning with the letter F, that’s another blog.

External Hard Drives

Externals make a great one time fee option for the person that wants to dump everything their hard drive can hold an more onto one media source. They come in both 3.5” powered designs  for the stationary user and 2.5” passive flavors for the data dumper on the go.

Most newer ones come with a OTB or one touch backup feature that allows you to press one button to backup everything. Or, they’ll have built in software that allows you set a software backup to run daily.

But if you ever want to transfer the information from one location to another, you risk damaging the fragile drive, and all of your data with it.

Jump Drives, Flash Drives, Thumb Drives, The little stick that holds memory thing

The benefit of these devices is that they’re highly portable, which also makes them highly losable, or stolenable (<- Not a word). Plus their small size also makes them smaller in capacity and can’t hold anywhere near the same amount of info as an external drive or cloud storage.  They’re best for transferring a limited amount of information.

Network Drives

Network attached storage drives or NAS are awesome comprehensive back-up storage solutions for entire networks that want to dump their data in a central locale.  The idea is to allow any computer connected to the network to be able to access the same files at any time. The downside is that any computer connected to the network can access any of the files at any time so security precautions are a must. That’s where software locks from Folder Lock and True Crypt come in handy, both free open source software.  Also, network security is a huge piece of this puzzle. Look into the information at IntelAssure Consulting to find the best ways to lock down a network.

DVD/CD Storage

In the event you get transported back to 1998 and all you have for a data back-up solution is a DVD-R or Jazz drive (anyone remember those?) then disc storage makes a cheap and easy solution to your data back-up woes.  It’s unfortunately the slowest method of data back up but on the plus side, CD-r never get a virus, they never get hacked, and they’re compatible with almost any modern system. The other caveat is that the can degrade over time so make sure you keep them in a cool dry place where they won’t get scratched or stolen.

At the end of the day there isn’t any one solution that will take care of all of your data back up needs. The best method is to be mindful of your back ups and use a multitude of solutions to secure all of your information.

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