HELP ME, my data has disappeared and I cannot get it BACK!!

Are you doing enough to keep your data safe in case some or all of it goes away??

What is backup, anyway? Why do I need it? What should I back up? Why should I pay for it, when I can get it FREE? What is the difference in Backup Plans?

Let's talk about the differences:

On line storage is not really the same as data backup.  This applies to Microsoft One Drive, Dropbox, Sugar Sync, iDrive, Google Drive, iCloud, etc.

These are online STORAGE places and they SYNCHRONIZE what is on your spot on their storage servers with what is selected on your computer.  That can loosely be considered backup, but if you delete something locally, then it is deleted up there in the "cloud" as well.

So you really only have your data in ONE place other than your computer, and only the LATEST copy of files is what is stored.  Most of them give you maybe 2GB of space free and then start charging per GB (charged at a monthly or yearly price) after that.  If you are already paying a monthly or annual fee for something else (like Microsoft Office 365 - Word, Excel, etc.) then they will throw in a bigger chunk of storage.

So you still have the same issue... your data is only stored in one additional place other than your computer, AND only your latest copy of that data is being stored.

If you are okay with that, then fine.  If your local data disappears - hard drive crash, stolen, destroyed in fire, etc - and you are confident you can get it back from whoever has custody of it in the "cloud", then you are good to go.   It may take a few days or a week to get it back after you fix the local problem, and you may have to get some tech help, if your storage company provides it.

If you have your stuff stored on a local external drive (USB, Bluetooth, Network device)  AND is stored in the  "cloud,” then you have a safer situation. You can hopefully get it from your local external source if something goes away, and if not then from the cloud.

The next level of protection for data storage AND backup is having a local external drive, usually on a server or a standalone box that is attached to your network, AND it is backed up to the cloud constantly as well.  A good example of this are the WD Personal Cloud network storage devices, which have software built in that allows you to sync with an Amazon S3 cloud account, or Elephant Backup, or some other cloud storage option.

This requires some expertise to set it up and manage it to make sure it is working.  If you can handle that, that's even better.

The managed backup systems that IT Larry manages go one step further, and that is to keep multiple VERSIONS of files going back in time from a couple of weeks to several months.  So, if you lose one file or folder, it is possible to retrieve it from several weeks or months ago before it was deleted.

In any event, this is food for thought on a very important item that many people blissfully ignore, until the time comes when they totally lose some important data that cannot be retrieved.

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