March 31st is officially World Backup Day, but whether you’re reading this on this unusual holiday or any other day of the year, now’s as good a time as any to think about your backups–or lack of a backup plan.
I know computer backups are about as interesting to think about for most people as flossing, doing your taxes, or changing your passwords. But think of it like insurance: You hope you’ll never need it, but sure would be glad if you get into a situation where you did. According to the World Backup Day website, 30% of people have never backed up their data, 29% of disasters are caused by accident, 113 phones are lost or stolen every minute, and 1 in 10 computers are infected with viruses each month. “One small accident or failure,” the site notes, “could destroy all the important stuff you care about.”
Backups of your important files are the solution. For peace of mind, just set up your backups now, if you haven’t already. Or test your backups now if you already have a system in place; after all, your backups are only as good as your ability to recover files from them.
The good news is it’s easy to create a solid backup plan that covers all your most important data. As a rule of thumb, think 3-2-1 for backups:
- 3 copies of your most important files
- 2 formats: for example, an external hard drive plus DVDs
- 1 off-site backup, such as using an online backup service such as CrashPlan or Backblaze
You’ll want to back up all your important documents, such as your photos and financial statements, and perhaps also create a system image of your computer so you can quickly recover in case your computer crashes.
Here are guides to help you get started right away:
- How to Back Up Everything from All Your Apps and Devices, which covers backing up data from apps like Office 365 as well as your phone, tablet, and Mac or PC.
- Archive and Back Up Your Work, which offers one-click Zap templates for you to instantly back files from one online storage service to another, save a second copy of your notes in Evernote or OneNote, and keep a spreadsheet archive of anything.
- How to Back Up and Export Your Google Apps Data, which shows you how to automatically back up your emails, contacts, and calendar events saved with Google.
Happy backup day!