You are an at-home PC or Mac user and use your computer to manage your personal or at-home small business; or, you use it for or leisure activities such as email correspondence, interacting with family and friends on social media, playing music, viewing movies, etc. But what happens if something goes wrong with your computer and you lose your files and data? If you have not backed up your computer, your data may be forever lost. This is why you need file backup software.
File backup software enables a user to make one or more exact copies — at a given point in time — of the data that resides on their computer, or exact copies of their PC / Mac’s entire hard drive. Anyone who uses a computer should be using file backup software to ensure their systems and / or data are protected from corruption or loss due to human error (e.g., accidently deleting files), a cyberattack, hardware / software failure or natural disaster (e.g., fire or flood).
Paid vs. free file backup software
There are many file backup software applications available to home users, some of which are free and others which are available as a subscription service. Free software is typically available as part of another application. For example, Microsoft Windows supports two native Windows backup features:
· File History, which automatically maintains incremental backups of files stored in frequently used folders. You can choose the external destination backup drive as well and customize the folders that will be included or excluded. However, only the specified folders will be backed up. For end-to-end file backups, it’s best to use a third-party backup tool.
· Backup and Restore (Windows 7), which not only backs up data files to a user-designated local or external drive, it also creates a system image.
File History allows you to restore individual files, while Windows Backup and Restore supports only full restores.
Likewise, your Mac comes with Time Machine, which is the official backup software of macOS that is built into the Operating System.
While the native Windows and Mac file backup software are free, there are limitations. Let’s take a closer look and compare the free file backup software available on Windows with paid software offered by Acronis.
Acronis versus Windows file backup
While Windows native backup is a good solution, there are shortcomings.
No cloud backup. With Windows native backup, there is no option to back up your system, files and folders to the cloud. While OneDrive synchronizes your local files to the cloud, it is not a true backup. For example, if you were to inadvertently delete a file on OneDrive, that file will also be deleted in the cloud.
This limitation can be significant. Backups shouldn’t be stored in the same location as your computer. If a fire or flood destroys your computer, it’s more than likely your local backups will also be destroyed. This is why the 3-2-1 backup rule is important to follow: maintain three copies of your data across two types of media with one backup stored off-site.
No protection for Microsoft 365. Windows native backup doesn't offer an option to back up your Microsoft 365 account. While many believe that Microsoft’s servers are completely protected and secure, we have seen outages, security breaches and attacks over the last few years targeting even the largest global organizations, including Facebook, Amazon and Google.
No protection of backups from cyberattacks. Native Windows backup does not protect the security of your backups. If your backups are stored locally and you suffer a cyberattack, it’s more than likely your local backup is also infected. This is why you want to consider a third-party backup solution that not only stores your backups in the cloud but also scans your system, files and folders for infections.
What should I look for in a file backup software
When looking to purchase file backup software, look for these important attributes.
· Ease of use, so you can focus on the task at hand and not on computer maintenance
· Automation, so that once you configure your software and backups, you can “set it and forget it.”
· Speed to eliminate bottlenecks and computer performance problems when your system is backing up or when recovering from a backup.
· Versatility and a variety of features such as the ability to restore individual files or folders, cloud and local storage, and more.
· Breadth of the offering because different backup solutions offer different features and “free” software may not have all the features you need.
· Reliability, so you can enjoy peace of mind knowing your systems and data are protected and safe.
Acronis offers file backup software and more!
Acronis Cyber Protect Home Office, formerly Acronis True Image, is a software product that provides cyber protection — a unique integration of reliable backup and cutting-edge anti-malware technologies that safeguard data against all of today’s threats — disk failure, accidental deletion, loss and theft, as well as cybercriminal attacks. PCMag described it as “an all-encompassing tragedy prevention solution” in their editor’s choice review.
With Acronis Cyber Protect Home Office, individuals and small businesses alike can back up their data — including their operating system, applications, settings, files and Microsoft 365 accounts to local drives, external hard drives, NAS and the Acronis cloud. In addition, Acronis Cyber Protect Home Office stops cyberattacks, including zero-day vulnerabilities, from harming both backup and device data with real-time protection, vulnerability assessment, on-demand antivirus scans, web-filtering, ransomware protection, and cryptomining blockers. In case of a disaster, data can be easily recovered.