When you think about it, the most valuable thing on your computer or network is the data you create. After all, that data is the reason for having the computer and network in the first place--and it's the bits and bytes that make up that data that are your first priority when putting protective strategies in place. Operating systems and applications can always be reinstalled, but user-created data is unique and if lost, may be irreplaceable.
Some data is also confidential; not only do you not want to lose it, you don't want others to even view it without authorization. Exposure of your social security number, credit card, and bank account information could subject you to identity theft. Company documents may contain trade secrets, personal information about employees or clients, or the organization's financial records.
Let's look at some ways to protect your all-important user data from loss and/or unauthorized access.
The single most important step in protecting your data from loss is to back it up regularly. How often should you back up? That depends--how much data can you afford to lose if your system crashes completely? A week's work? A day's work? An hour's work?
You can use the backup utility built into Windows (ntbackup.exe) to perform basic backups. You can use Wizard Mode to simplify the process of creating and restoring backups or you can configure the backup settings manually and you can schedule backup jobs to be performed automatically.
To back up personal files, there are a variety of third-party services which save data on servers in the cloud. This means you can access these files wherever you are, so long as you’re online. No extra hardware is required, and once set up it can even automatically back-up files meaning you don’t have to worry about it. There is plenty of room for storage, for example Google Drive offers up to 1TB of space. However a potential drawback is the fact that most online storage services only back up personal files, not the files a system needs to boot-up meaning you’re not fully protected.
Another way to back up your files is storing them on a USB or Memory Stick, which are miniature hard drives. These can have a great deal of space for storage but also have to…