The Top 5 Ways to Keep Your Data Safe

Every year we create more data than the year before. If you can believe it, 90 percent of the data in the world today was created in the last two years alone. IBM has estimated that our current daily creation rate is 2.5 quintillion bytes of data. IDC projects that the digital universe will reach 40 zettabytes (ZB) by 2020, which is 50 times larger than the digital universe at the beginning of 2010.

Of course, it’s our personal data that we feel the strongest connection to and want to protect the most. Analyst firm ABI Research noted in a recent report that by the end of 2013, there will be twice as many active personal cloud storage accounts as there were just one year ago. Within five years, the global account base is expected to more than triple, hitting 3.61 billion by the end of 2018.

So people are definitely wising up to the value of cloud storage, and we can expect that more and more of them will begin to store their most valuable digital possessions there in the coming years.

One of the reasons this hasn’t already happened, however, is that many people aren’t sure exactly how to choose the right cloud storage service, which files to back up, how often to do it and so on. As we increasingly create more photos, music, videos, e-mails, and documents, backup and recovery becomes more important than ever before.

In that spirit, we wanted to share our top 5 tips for ensuring that your digital data is safe and secure now and in the future:

1. Schedule Regular Backups

Backups should be made regularly. After an initial full backup of the entire system, make sure you set up automatic, incremental backups. Incremental backups are vital because they store only what has been changed or added since the last full backup, allowing you to save disk space, as well as decreasing the time each backup takes.

2. Invest in a Good External Drive

Your first-line backups should be stored on removable media or removable drives. This will help ensure your data is safe, even if your device is lost or stolen.

3. Double-Protect Your System

Of course, external backup alone isn’t enough. You should also provide a second layer of security for your most important data by backing it up to the cloud. With the right software, you can also encrypt the data to keep it safe in the event of a hack attempt. A second backup in the cloud can also protect your data from physical damage resulting from an accident, natural disaster or other incident.

4. Test Your Recovery Plan

Test out your backup system. It’s much better to find out your system isn’t perfect now, before something bad happens. Then you can fine-tune your approach until you’re certain that, even in a worst-case scenario, your data will be recoverable.

5. Check Your System Prior to Any Installation

Before installing any new programs, software updates or drivers, we recommend that you complete a full backup. This way if something goes wrong with your hard drive, you will avoid losing precious data. Any changes or losses can then be reversed by installing from your backup.

This might sound like a lot to handle, but our digital data, especially photos, videos and other sentimental files, are incredibly valuable. If you have some time over the holidays, try the steps above and give yourself a little peace of mind by ensuring that your systems are disaster-proof.

How are you protecting your data today? Have you tested your backup systems lately?