As more and more of the critically important information in our work and personal lives is transitioning to a totally digital format, there is a constant, lingering concern and conversation about how to keep from losing these files.
As something digital is so easy to destroy, there are a number of different ways people can back-up files, ranging from text to pictures to video files, so that there will be another copy of them if one is ever destroyed via your hard drive getting wiped out or some other unexpected situation (like your laptop falling to the bottom of a pool or burning up in a fire). Below are some of the many different ways to back-up the digital items that are important to you, with pluses and minuses for each.
ON CD or DVD
PROS: A CD or DVD can hold a lot of information, will last a long time and can be easily stored. This is the new version of storing files on a disk, since those are now obsolete.
CONS: However, CDs and DVDs are quickly becoming obsolete themselves, though it will probably be years before they are fully phased out. Because they probably not be useable with any computer at some point in the future, that will limit the staying power of these CDs / DVDs is limited to a few decades.
ON A FLASH DRIVE
PROS: If you are trying to back-up a small amount of information that you can take from place to place easily, a flash drive is ideal. The small miniature hard drives will carry all the information you need on your keychain or in your pocket, allowing you to plug them into just about any computer.
CONS: These flash drives don’t hold a ton of information and can be damaged in your pocket and exposed to extreme temperature changes in other places they may easily be left, causing them to fail… with maybe your only copy of some data.
PROS: There is almost infinite space to store items on a cloud or just on an email server. These are professionally managed and unless there’s a literal apocalypse, your information will never be lost.
CONS: You need the internet to access this online storage. While the internet is more and more prevalent these days, any loss of it could keep you from these important files you have backed up.
[b]EXTERNAL HARD DRIVES[/b]
PROS: Massive hard drives that can hold as much information as many computers at once are a common form of external back up, due to their ability to hold so much information. They are heavy duty and meant for major businesses who have a lot of critical digital information that many copies must be kept of for extended periods of time.
CONS: Hard drives are expensive when it comes to those that hold ample amounts of data. They are also a little fragile themselves if used regularly, as they have a number of working parts just like a computer and can fail. Make sure you are buying a reliable brand of external hard drive with a warranty or a guarantee the company will recover the lost information if the drive fails.
PROS: Going with hard, physical copies of documents, recording CDs or making tapes of videos is a last resort to back up everything you have, but they can be stored in a completely different way and won’t be reliant on power, the internet or a piece of technology working for you to view them.
CONS: Very wasteful, would take forever to put back into a computer and also takes up a lot of physical storage space.
PROS: Having another computer to save a lot of important documents is a good idea, as it doesn’t require you to plug in a hard drive, flash drive or insert a CD or DVD to see your important documents. You can just turn on the computer and get working or copy them to yet another location.
CONS: Your old computer could fail as well. And it will become obsolete quicker than just about any other form of back-up.