What’s the best way to backup your data?

A comparison of different methods to safeguard your information

How are you supposed to know what storage solution to choose, when it comes to backing up your personal information? I’ve been through the process myself, so I understand how confusing it can be when you’re expected to weigh up all the different options. Ultimately, the decision you make will be based on what your personal requirements are. To help you with decision-making process, I’ve outlined some of the things to think about when you are choosing between online storage and traditional back up services.

Traditionally, professionals have stored their data on CDs, DVDs, Hard drives, flash drives or their servers (at home or work). There is now a new option available – online storage. The following compares each of the options to support you in making an informed decision about your own individual needs.

CD-DVD or Blue-ray

Usually rewriteable, these enable you to store up to 50GB. Advantages include the cost of purchasing writeable CDs, and their familiarity – they are as easy to use as a music compact disc, and this is the first choice for most technophobes! Disadvantages include the amount of time it takes to safely back up all your data, the space taken up by your back-up discs, the risk of scratching or damage, and the fact that not all devices can read all types of CD.

Hard drives

These usually come with between three and five years of warranty, and provide up to 2TB storage space. Advantages include the fact that you have a separate space where all your key information is housed, and their relative ease of use. Disadvantages include the chance of picking up viruses through their use, the potential for software or hardware failure, and the expense of restoring data should it become lost, corrupted or unreadable.

Flash drives

These little gadgets are really useful for transferring small amounts of data, such as when you are transferring images, videos, music and documents from one place to another, or storing them. They are easy to use, and highly transportable. Their main disadvantage is their size – they can only hold small amounts of data, are easily lost or misplaced, and are at risk of damage.

Online storage

Online storage is a good choice when you have a large amount of data to protect. It provides unlimited space, it is relatively cheap, simple to use and automatically backs up your data for you. With advantages such as remote access and high security, it is an ideal solution for people who are looking to keep information housed safely on a remote server.

Disadvantages of online storage include the small risk that the service provider of your solution goes out of business and shut down their servers. Another point to consider is that there will always be security-hackers out there, and even encrypted solutions are never going to be one hundred percent safe from security threats.