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Backup and Protect Your Data with a Multi-Storage Strategy


Being able to efficiently and securely backup data has become an important task for both individuals and businesses. Data is diverse, including images, videos, documents, and files, and being able to back them up is essential. Whether it is simply to protect personal files against loss or protect your business from the growing threat of cyberattacks, you can boot up a backup and recover data from a previous state.

According to ExpressVPN's survey on people's backup habits, 22% of all respondents do not backup their data at all. Despite concerns, avoiding backup could be disastrous if your data is stolen or deleted. That is why a multi-backup strategy is a good compromise to ensure your data is safe.

Of course, you can store data on a PC's internal storage, but with the ongoing expansion of malware and attacks, having backups off-device is necessary. Using a cloud-based solution like Drive or OneDrive works for most scenarios, but a multi-solution strategy can offer more overall protection. This guide will discuss the various methods for backing up data. You can choose the one that is best for you or use a combination of solutions to create a data backup net.

Best Methods for Securely Backing Up Data

While a single cloud storage solution may be enough to backup data for most users, accidents can happen, and it is possible to lose your files. Whether it is images, documents, or sensitive information, losing data can be disastrous. I am an advocate of the 3-2-1 rule for data backup, making sure to avoid any chances of losing my data.

With the 3-2-1 rule, you have 3 separate copies of your data, put it 2 different types of storage, and then keep 1 copy off-site. Traditionally, the strategy was for 2 types of physical storage, but the cloud is also an option. While you may feel secure with one cloud solution, leaks and breaches happen, so using more than one is still worthwhile.

Below, we will look at the main data backup/storage methods that you can implement into the 3-2-1 strategy or any other type of data backup plan you use.

Use an External Hard Drive

A traditional way of storing files away from your main device is to use an external drive, either an HDD (hard disk drive) or an SSD (solid state drive). HDDs are legacy solutions that should only be chosen as a matter of cost as they are more affordable than SSDs. While an SSD will cost more, it has faster copy speeds and is more secure against damage.

You can backup data to an external hard drive in the following ways:

  • Built-in software – Your computer software has an automatic backup feature that you can toggle on or off. Activating the backup will automatically create a copy of your data on a connected external storage device. You can set this app on Windows by following “System” → “Storage” → “Advanced storage settings” → “Backup options” and then adding your external drive.
  • Third-party – Some third-party programs offer features similar to automatic backup on your computer. While I don't think these are necessary for individuals, they can appeal to businesses because they can offer faster bulk backup.
  • Manual backup – If you prefer to do the job yourself, you can manually move files from your computer to the external hard drive. An option that works for a few files but becomes very time-consuming if you need to backup lots of data.

Use Cloud Storage

Cloud storage is the modern way to store and backup data and is likely the most popular method for many users. By leveraging a cloud storage service, you are backing up your data to the cloud, where you can access it online efficiently at any time. If you are an individual or small business storing media files and/or documents, cloud storage can be an effective primary backup method.

However, bigger businesses with sensitive data may be concerned about the potential for data breaches and only use cloud solutions as a secondary option. Microsoft OneDrive, Google Drive, iCloud, and Dropbox are notable cloud storage services. There are several benefits to using the cloud to protect your data:

  • Easy and convenient:You can backup data across devices with just a few clicks.
  • Scalable: You can increase the amount of storage you have as your data needs grow.
  • Affordable: Cloud storage is more affordable than buying physical storage.
  • Sharing: It is easy to share files and data across platforms directly for cloud storage.

Use a USB Flash Drive

A USB flash drive is a physical device that is an alternative to an external hard drive. While storage capacity has improved for UBS drives, they still offer less space than full drives. As your data needs grow, scaling with USB flash drives is simply impractical. As such, this is a solution that works much better for individuals or for storing specific files.

Backup your data with a USB drive by following the steps below:

  1. Connect the drive to your computer by installing it in a compatible USB port.
  2. Open Windows or Mac Finder and locate the drive on your system.
  3. Drag and drop files from your computer to the USB Flash drive folder.
  4. When you're done, remove the drive using “Safely Remove Hardware”.

Use a dedicated online backup service

There are software providers that offer a complete data backup service for a fee. These services include features such as file encryption, data recovery, backup scheduling, password protection, and file sharing. When you choose a backup provider, the service will host your data on their own secure servers with full security and protection tools.

Paying for a backup service may be overkill if you want to backup videos from last year's vacation. If you have sensitive data or content that is particularly important, allowing experts to manage your files may be a good option. Although online data backup providers can be expensive, it is worth weighing up the costs before you commit.

Tips for Creating a Successful Data Backup Plan

The following tips will help you successfully backup your data and remove any worries about security.

  • Select the best backup method for you: As you can see on this page, there are plenty of ways to backup data. Consider your specific requirements and data needs and compare solutions to find the best option for you.
  • Know your data: It may not be cost-effective to backup all data, or there may be some data that is a higher priority. Check your most critical data and organize it so the most important items receive a backup first.
  • Secure the backup: If you choose a physical backup option such as an external drive or USB flash drive, you will also need to properly secure it. Store your physical backups in a safe place, preferably one that is water-proof, theft-proof, and fire-proof.
  • Check your backups: Once you store data, don't put it to one side and forget about it. You should regularly check and evaluate your backups to ensure they are working. For example, if your cloud storage service is storing your files or if an external drive has not become damaged.
  • Don't forget updates: Many people sleep on their backups and forget about their data once it is secure. However, your data journey won't end, and following each backup you will continue to build more data. That is why it is important to regularly update your backups to include new data.
Luke Jones
Luke Jones
Luke has been writing about all things tech for more than five years. He is following Microsoft closely to bring you the latest news about Windows, Office, Azure, Skype, HoloLens and all the rest of their products.

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