Data Storage Ideas

by Jason Dyck
(last updated August 31, 2017)

From email to movies, school reports to vacation plans, you keep a lot of important information on your computer. Keeping that data storage safe is an important step to peace of mind. Backing up your PC regularly can prevent you from losing everything in case of a virus, an accident, or a disaster.

One of the key principles is to have multiple backups: You should always have your information backed up in at least two places. Multiple copies help give you a better chance of recovering your data if something goes wrong.

There are two kinds of backup that you can use for your data storage: local backup and remote or off-site backup. I will explain a little about both.

Local backup:

This is the easiest way to get started backing up your data. All you have to do is make a copy of your data on a regular basis and you have already made an improvement in your security and peace of mind. Remember to keep at least one copy in some other physical location, whether it's a safe deposit box or at your neighbor's house. If your home or office burns down, an extra copy sitting on your desk next to the computer is not going to help you any. If you are running Windows Vista or Windows 7, there are applications built-in to help you to create backups of your data easily. In some versions, you can even set up scheduled, automatic backups so that you don't accidentally forget. Whether you use those tools or not, there are several ways you can backup your data storage in your own home or office.

  • CD-RWs and Flash Drives. Especially for work files, or if you move around between computers, having a portable backup of your important files can be very helpful. There is no special equipment of knowledge needed. Every time you save your work, save a copy to your portable media (CD-RW, Flash drive, etc.) as well. These kinds of backups have their limitations—they can easily be lost or broken if you're not careful, and their storage capacity is limited. They are best used for storing a specific portion of your data, such as your school files or photos. If you want to store all of your data in these, you will probably need several.
  • Extra Hard Drive(s). As the price of hard drive storage continues to fall, a backup drive has become much more accessible for most people. The hard drive could be an additional internal drive (inside the same computer) or an external drive connected by a cable. The external option will likely cost a little more, but it gives you some of the same advantages as CDs and Flash drives: the ability to store it in another location, or to take it with you from place to place. If something happens to your home or office, like a fire or flood, having a backup in some other place is vital. Just having the backup in another room provides a little more security for your data storage.
  • Server. If you have a network in your home or office, you might want to set one of the computers on the network as a place to store or backup the data from all your other computers. This is effectively a variation on the extra-hard-drive option. In this case, that hard drive happens to be part of another computer. This gives you a little detachment without necessarily having to buy a new hard drive, if you have the space to spare on one of your computers.

Web storage:

This was once the option of choice for big companies and high rollers. Recently, though, online off-site backup is increasingly becoming an option that everyone can use. There are many services available to choose from; some of the bigger names in the business are Carbonite, Mozy, and SOS. These services will backup the files you choose in their own data storage system. Some are automated, some are not. Shop around a little to find one that meets your needs and your budget.

Author Bio

Jason Dyck

Jason has been a cook, a hotel clerk, a website developer, a landscaper, a dance instructor, a financial auditor, and the list goes on. He holds Associate degrees in English and Social Science. Jason lives in Utah with his wife and two sons. ...


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