You’re taking a huge risk if your computer is loaded with cute photos of your dog or that novel you’ve been meaning to finish, and you’ve never performed a data backup. It doesn’t take much for something to go wrong with your device and make it impossible for Tekkies to save this important data.

There is one sure way to prevent this heartbreak; performing regular backups on all your devices. If you have no idea where to start or what hardware you need, you’re certainly not alone. We are going to tell you exactly why this is so important and how to perform a safe and effective backup.

Technology can do some amazing things, but it’s not perfect. We want to believe that our data is safe in the digital realm but many people don’t know that it doesn’t take much to cripple a system beyond repair. These are the most common ways that people lose the data on their devices:

  • Spills or accidents: We see this one in our stores all the time. One accidental cup of coffee onto your keyboard and the whole device is fried. Most devices don’t have any sort of covering that protects from liquid damage so it seeps right in and causes short circuits. If this happens, do not turn the device on and get to your nearest Tekkies as fast as you can.
  • Hard drive failures: The harddrive is where all the important data is stored and they are, unfortunately, very fragile. If it breaks down it could cost around $1,000 to restore and recover anything that was on it and Tekkies doesn’t consider that to be an economical repair.
  • Viruses: The internet is full of hidden viruses and accidentally finding a big one could cripple your system. Viruses love to destroy software systems and stored data.
  • Theft: If your device is lost or stolen, there is zero hope of recovering the data on it.
All these situations are very bleak, but doing regular backups can ensure that if one of them happens to you, you will not lose the data most important to you.

How often you should back up the data on your devices depends on how often you use or add important things to it. People who rely on their computer for their livelihood back up their files weekly or even daily. If you don’t use your device that often, maybe you only need to backup the data every few months. Here’s a good rule of thumb: If there is something important to you on your device that wasn’t there when you last backed up, it’s time.

The next step is to choose how you want to backup your files and luckily, there are a multitude of options.

External hardware
External hard drives and thumb drives are great options for backing up your data. There are endless storage and physical size options and there are no recurring fees. Backing up is as simple as plugging the external hardware in (typically through USB) and using the appropriate program for your device to complete the backup (Mac has Time Machine and Windows has File Explorer). Then you can take your data with you anywhere and restore on another device if necessary. The only drawbacks to backing up through external hardware is the potential danger of system failure or of it getting lost or stolen.

Cloud Storage
You may have heard the media talking about “the cloud” when referring to celebrity photo leaks or the dangers of the internet, but don’t let that scare you. Using cloud storage to backup your data is a safe and effective way of keeping your important data safe and accessible from anywhere in the world.

“The cloud” is a buzzword for the online space where your data can be kept. It allows a user to upload and access their data from anywhere in the world and on any device with an internet connection. Programmers and engineers typically create their own cloud storage. General consumers can use simple sites that companies like Apple, Google and Dropbox have created to upload and manage their files. Each one has its own strengths and weaknesses and all require a monthly or yearly payment to get a manageable amount of storage.

The bottom line is that there is no wrong way of backing up your important data, as long as you do it regularly. It may seem like a small inconvenience now, but it’ll save you time and money should something bad happen.