A variety of different methods of backing up your data are available. Whichever you choose, it is essential to observe the following:

·      Plan for total loss of your data (for example, theft of a laptop which contains all of your data).

·      If backing up data on an external hard drive, ensure that it is stored on different premises to prevent your backup data being stolen or damaged along with your computer.

·       If enabled by your backup device, password-protect backups to protect your privacy.

There are two main methods of backing up your data, both of which have their distinct advantages and disadvantages.

1.       Using an external/portable hard drive, which is a cheap, quick and efficient way of backing up all your data. It is important to test that the data you have backed up on your portable hard drive can be recovered if needed. You should test this by using a different computer to ensure that the backup is compatible – and recoverable – in the event of the loss of your existing computer.

2.       The use of online backup (also known as ‘cloud backup’) is increasingly popular owing to its added convenience, security and low cost.  You may back up any data from one or two documents or photos to the entire contents of your computer, with virtually no limitation on storage space. Some providers supply limited storage free of charge, but generally the cost of backups increases proportionally to the amount of data involved.

It is not recommended to use USB memory sticks, recordable CDs or DVDs to back up your data. Although these may appear to be inexpensive and convenient methods, they have limited capacity and are also easily lost / stolen, not durable, and usually very slow to restore.

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