In this day and age, we should never hear someone proclaim, “Oh my God, my computer crashed! I lost everything!” You can’t lose something that’s been properly backed up.
Nobody is exempt from the No. 1 rule of backing up your data. Anything could happen:
- Hard drive crash
- Accidental deletion
- Water damage
- Theft (offline)
The planning for digital disasters begins with first going through all of your files to clear out any “junk” or data that you know for sure you no longer need. Then delete it.
Next, make sure all of your files are organized, not scattered haphazardly, and properly labeled. See if you can consolidate some files.
You then must commit to regular backups, and this may be every day for some files. There are programs that can make the hassle of backing up much easier. They will automatically perform backups on everything, keeping a spare copy of all your files.
But what if your computer is physically stolen? A lot of good the prior-mentioned backups will do. And carrying around with you a flash drive is cumbersome and you may forget it at home—the day your computer is stolen—along with the flash drive.
This same principle applies to fire or water damage. The flash drive could be destroyed or lost. Furthermore, it’s not realistic to think you would place your computer in a fireproof safe every time you log off, though maybe every time you go out, that’s more realistic.
You could keep your computer located in a safe place that’s least likely to be damaged by a flood or fire, but that’s a thin layer of protection.
It may seem that the obvious tactic is to back your data up in a cloud service. And you’re right; this would be part of a multi-layer plan. A cloud service may also offer incremental backups.
As for that flash drive, it will sure help to make it a habit to back everything up every day—just the files you changed for that day. What are the odds that your flash drive will get stolen or burned to a crisp?