FastTrack To Backing up your digital life

As we continue to live our lives in the digital realm, the risk of losing it all becomes that much more real. Imagine the amount of data we have residing on our devices – be it PC, tablet or smartphone. Hundreds of personal documents, files, passwords, sticky notes, photos, and videos. Downloaded torrents can be acquired again but what if something were to happen to those precious memories that you’ve captured? Your child’s first steps, that great birthday party you hosted when you turned 21; what if all of that is one day lost because you thought hard drive failure or phone theft is something that happens to other people and not you? The thing with backups is that it never seems important until that very day when you need it. And now with cloud-backups becoming a reality, there really is no reason for you to not have a well thought out backup strategy in place.

Introduction: Why backup is so easy today

In a much-used statement, it’s safe to say that we live and revel in a digital age. We’re dependent on technology like never before and with increasing dependence, we’ve built an increased need to manage our digital lives. From blog entries and code snippets to photo albums and music libraries, our data needs have gained priority making data backup increasingly relevant. While the concept of backing up data is not new, when applied to digital content it obtains an abstract sense that varies from the usual method of backing up important documents (creating photo copies).

The basics of data backup

There are certain things we know we should be doing regularly: frequently exercising, regularly oiling our vehicles, updating our passbooks and backing up our data – but more often than not, for whatever reason, we refuse to do them. The last one on that list though, if taken for granted will ensure that you regret the decision of not having taken early precautions. Neglecting this task will hit you quick and hit you the hardest. We’re talking about losing all your precious data just because you didn’t bother to back it up, of course. If you’ve gotten so far as this chapter, we’ve probably already drilled the importance of taking backups into your head.

Save your social data

We use a variety of different digital tools to create and share content online. This social media data is being constantly updated, along with our needs and how we see ourselves using these tools. What may have been cool once is not cool anymore, and we tend to stop using a tool after a while, leaving an online presence behind, with what might potentially be sensitive information that is better off being erased from the internet altogether. Of course, some of this information has sentimental value, and a need arises to make a copy of this data before destroying it. Another personal reason you might have to back up your data is to get a historical perspective of the data you created, to see how your Internet behaviour or writing habits have changed over the years.

Preserve your pc

We have come a long way in terms of backup techniques, from taking backups on CDs, DVDs to using software designed specifically for backup. Such specialised software bring with them various advantages like automation, synchronisation, encryption, compression, and various other benefits.

Manage your mac backup

Time Machine comes free with your MacBook or iMac. It works on both normal external drives and on AirPort Time Capsule.

Lookout for your Linux

You don’t need us to tell you how important backups are – you probably (and should) know that already. In an age where we’re living such a great percentage of our lives digitally - through our digital photos, digital music library and digital documents, it’s imperative that you have a way of recovering your data should something happen to it. Inspite of it, taking the time to set up a foolproof and automated backup system is something we’d rather put off until disaster strikes – when it’s too late to do anything.

Backing up your smartphone

What’s the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning? Odds are, you check your phone before you even brush your teeth. Likewise, what’s the last thing you do before going to bed? Smartphones have embedded themselves so firmly in our lives, that they’re literally by our side - whether we’re awake or asleep. Being a hub of communication, information, entertainment and more, smartphones end up containing vast amounts of important data - from crucial ones like your contacts, email and photos, to more light hearted ones like saved game data and app preferences. What if something were to happen to this data? Your phone could get lost or stolen, it could suffer physical damage or it could be the victim of a malware attack - all of which would result in you losing your data for good, with almost no way of recovering the lost information.

Save up your passwords

This story begins with man and his little internet companion, Passie. They were inseparable as little Passie helped our hero explore the wide world of interconnected computers. Passie became a part of our protagonist’s browser until certain security issue forced our central character to replace ‘ol Passie with a new combination of keys. It is at this juncture that things take a turn for the worse. The original Passie was tried and tested. And more accounts were opened online, she became the key that unlocked each door. But the new Passie was born out of a last minute thought and impatience because a whole bunch of websites going the open source way when it came to security. The new Passie was also pretty inconsistent and logging in was never the same again.

Backing up miscellaneous data

Life in the digital world is incomplete without the web. And when you’re talking about the web, you’re talking chaos. Just as we’d tackle any clutter, we need to form a strategy before going about finding the right backup solutions. When it comes to the web, there’s no set strategy. This is because unlike operating systems, which are complex and enforce certain rules upon the user, the web browser is relatively very simple and each user can interact with the browser in different ways.

Recovery - for those who didn't backup

Data recovery…So we’ve come to this now, eh? If only we had all just backed up our data like we were supposed to. If you’re reading this chapter with a little more interest than usual, then you either already messed up with regards to your data, or aren’t confident about your ability to stick by what we’ve already told you about backing up your data. Before we talk at length about data recovery, the way it works and whether or not it works at all, you should be warned that data recovery is the absolute last measure to fall back on – always rely on backups. To answer a question that must be on many of your minds – Can we recover data from damaged hard disks, or data that we’ve (apparently) permanently deleted? Luckily, the answer is yes. However, the process isn’t entirely smooth or efficient. In some cases, depending on the extent of damage, it can be very expensive as well.