Do You Have a Personal Backup Plan?

Most of us would like to say that we are extremely diligent about protecting our data and backing it up on a regular basis. However, we know that this is not always the case. Fortunately, backups are easier than ever before thanks to a plethora of options available to most end users. It is critical to remind students, faculty, and staff to create a backup plan for important files and make sure those backups are stored in a separate location (physically or in the cloud). This will help prevent the loss of valuable information if the computer is lost, stolen, compromised, or simply fails to turn on one day. Hopefully this article will not only encourage you to take steps toward creating a backup, but to also share information on the importance of backups.

Briefly review this 2017 backup awareness survey to see how often most computer owners backup their data. Do you fall into the daily, weekly, monthly, annually, or never category?

The only way to protect yourself against valuable data loss is through regular backups. Ideally, important files should be backed up at least once a week, or even every day if the files are critical to you. This can be done manually, automatically, or using combination of the two methods.

When it comes to backups, just like security, you will want to find a balance of being both thorough and efficient. We have all heard disaster stories of losing homework due to the blue screen of death or the misplaced cell phone that tragically stored the only copy of family photos. Consider what would happen to your files if you fall victim to ransomware or another malicious attack that leaves you with no choice but to reimage your computer. Establish a backup strategy that will leave you feeling safe and secure. Here are some tips to get you started.

  • Data loss happens all the time, but it is entirely preventable. You just need to create a backup plan.
  • Your critical data should never reside in a single place.
  • The ideal backup strategy will typically include both an online backup service (e.g., OneDrive, Dropbox, Box, Google Drive, CrashPlan, iCloud) and an offline backup utility (e.g., external hard drives, flash drives) to ensure your data is secure no matter what happens to your mobile device or computer.
  • Running consistent, automatic backups is a straightforward process that will take little time to set up and will require even less to maintain.
  • Backups can be configured to run in real time when files on your computer are changed.
  • Routinely test your backup solution to ensure you can recover your data in the event that you do actually need to restore from a backup.


Author: Sarah Braun, EducauseReview 



Braun, Sarah. “September 2018: Do You Have a Personal Backup Plan?” Do You Have a Personal Backup Plan?, EducauseReview, 25 Sept. 2017,

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