A computer crash is nothing new, but far too many people take the easy way out and cross their fingers, hoping it never happens to them. But a computer crashing and wiping out your data isn’t the only accident that can befall your important documents, photos and media. Computer theft, natural disasters and hacking are a few other ways you could lose all of your data—unless you take just a few moments to prevent data loss from the start.
The simplest of all data loss prevention tips is to save frequently. It seems like a no-brainer, but think about how many times you’ve waited until you finished your work to save it. What if a power surge rebooted your computer in the interim? What if a virus caused it to crash? Some programs auto-save for you, but you can’t always rely on that. Even when it does work, it could be an earlier version than the last version you were working on. So follow these tips to avoid data loss:
* Save the file as soon as you open the creation software, before you even have any work done. Go to “Save as,” give the file a name and choose where you want to save the file. Pay close attention to where you save it; if you don’t, the document could save someplace unexpected and you could mistakenly think you’ve lost it.
* Learn the shortcut for save. On Windows, it’s “CTRL” plus “S.” On Mac, it’s “CMD” plus “S.”
* Hit the save shortcut every time you pause in your work, at least every few minutes. If you’ve already established the file name and location, you won’t have to worry about where it saves, either.
Of course, saving a file as you work on it isn’t the only important step you need to take to prevent data loss, especially if you consider instances where the data loss occurs when you’re not working. Should your computer be lost or destroyed, your data may be lost forever, unless you backup files on an external drive as soon as you finish creating them. You have two options when it comes to external drives:
* Flash drives: These small, convenient devices are affordable and easy to stick in a pocket, or bag, to take with you on the go. Stick the device into a USB drive and transfer copies of all of your essential data. Because of their size, you can even lock the device in a safe or safety deposit box.
* External hard drives: These a variety of sizes, including several terabytes of data. That’s probably more storage space than you even have devices are larger and more expensive than their flash drive counterparts, but they can store much more data. They come in on your computer, in the first place!
Instead of limiting yourself to just one or the other, why not use both? When it comes to protecting your data, having more copies isn’t a bad thing; and you might want to keep a copy somewhere outside of your home, like in a storage unit or safety deposit box, in the event of a natural disaster or theft.
Digital storage is, perhaps, more convenient than an external drive. Seek out an online data storage system and you can back up your data in the firm’s servers, which are designed to be secure in case of hacking or server crashes. Even if your office’s servers are wiped out, your data house in a storage site will remain.
You can purchase a storage plan based on the amount of storage you need, as well as how many users you want to be able to access your data. Online storage could also prove convenient for when you share data; rather than emailing data to others individually, you can all have access to it via the internet with passwords and permissions.
Burn to Discs
While DVD-Rs and CD-Rs don’t provide the same amount of digital storage space as flash drives, external hard drives and online storage, they are convenient for a number of things you might want to do with a copy of your data including:
* Mailing it in an envelope—it will prove less bulky than a flash drive
* Storing it in a binder
* Playing it in DVD players or game consoles when applicable
Author Bio: Stuart Dyer is a contributing writer, web designer and all-around tech geek. He works part-time as an IT consultant to various firms and individuals. And, unfortunately, he has had to help many of his clients with data loss. “Saving repeatedly just isn’t enough,” he states.