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BACK IT UP: THE PROS AND CONS OF BACKUP METHODS

BACK IT UP: THE PROS AND CONS OF BACKUP METHODS

It’s common knowledge that it is wise to store your information in more than one place. Similar to the ism from a bygone age, in which one might store eggs in one basket, and then lose them all in a single catastrophe, storing all of your important info on one device, even if somehow, in the modern age, you only use one device, could result in losing everything you use and need on a daily basis. It’s also helpful to store your information offsite so that the devices you use all the time are not cluttered with apps, movies, what have you, that you don’t use all the time, but would like to keep. Here’s a quick breakdown on some of your options.

data backup
Data concept: computer keyboard with word Data Backup on enter button background, 3d render

iCloud

 If you are resisting Apple’s march for world domination, this is already the wrong choice for you. You must have an iTunes account and a compatible computer (obviously a Mac is your best bet for compatibility) to use it. However, if you do, nothing could be easier. All of your information automatically updates on all of your devices – a music purchase, all your history, everything. Apple offers free, unlimited storage for music, movies, TV shows, apps and books. It provides 5 GB free for photos, videos, app data, messages, etc. If you need more than 5, you may purchase 10, 20 or 50 GB for $20, $40, or $100 per year. With an iOS 5 or higher, iCloud automatically backs up your information to your iCloud account on a daily basis.

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If you are a control freak or conspiracy theorist, this probably isn’t for you. You are backing up into your own account, but you do not have a physical object that is yours to have and to hold and use at your own discretion. You are handing your information over to “the cloud” to take care of it for you. If this seems like yet another instance of all the eggs in one basket syndrome to you, you may want to instead, or additionally, back up on an external drive. See below.

External Hard Drives

online backup

As their name implies, these are external drives that you use manually to store your valuable information on a separate device. They come in a variety of shapes, sizes, capacities and prices. Generally speaking, however, they run upwards of $100. Some of the highest rated backup drives from Cnet  include:

•Buffalo MiniStation Thunderbolt

•Seagate Backup Plus

•WD My Passport Portable

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IoSafe Solo

These all provide at least 1Tb (a thousand gigabytes) of storage capacity. The IoSafe solo is formidable, a large, fire-safe, water-resistant tank of a hard drive for over $300. If you have things you’d like to store safely in the event of a fire or your child throwing it in the toilet, this is your best bet. The advantage of these devices is exactly the disadvantage of the cloud – you control the storage of your information. You get to choose which device you want, when you want to back up, and it is physically separate from your other devices. This may seem old school to some, but it might be a good idea to keep a finger on the pulse of older methods while the new are still developing. The disadvantage is that you have to pay for these no matter what, and depending on your preference, it can be pretty expensive. The fact that they are physical and in your possession means you could feasibly break them, or lose them, and have no one to blame but yourself. It is also less convenient to do manual backups.

Flash Drives

 These have a max of 256 Gb of storage capacity, considerably less than the external hard drives, but they make up for it with portability. A flash drive is great if you need to save or transfer something quickly on the go. They fit in a purse, a pocket, a wallet, and for the convenience of their size they actually store quite a bit. The disadvantage is the same as any small package – they’re easy to lose. It’s probably not best to rely on them to save and keep the majority of your important information as a general rule, but especially not if you tend to be disorganized or misplace things.

 Whatever your personality and technological preferences, there is a backup option for you. For some the safest option may actually be to use a combination backups – but to others that probably seems like overkill. The only right choice is to do whatever brings you peace of mind and suits your lifestyle.

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