Backups and You

Backups are one of the most important things you can do in today’s digital world and the methods of doing so can vary wildly. 
Long gone are the days of backing up onto tape (although some legacy enterprise systems still do). Unfortunately, this seems to have been replaced with the total neglect to back up at all. 
That phone in your pocket, so prevalent they have all but replaced the humble camera. Photos of your family, friends, holidays, events, memories you do not want to lose. So often these are just left on our phones and never copied elsewhere, whether that is a PC, laptop or even “The Cloud”. 
Fortunately, Android users and iPhone users rejoice, you have cloud backup built right into your phone! Through the Google Photos app on Android (make sure it’s installed and up to date), or through iCloud on your iPhone/iPad (make sure it is switched on). Any photo you take with the built-in camera app will automatically be uploaded to Google photos or to iCloud when you are connected to Wifi! 
Although you’re putting your photos onto a server outside your control, the photos remain private to you unless you decide to share them with others. “Leaks” and “Hacks” aren’t a big threat to the average user, so don’t worry, but make sure you clear out photos you’d rather not be backed up through the respective apps on your phone. 
So, if your phone ends up lost, stolen or damaged beyond repair, your memories are but a click of a mouse or tap of the screen away, safely stored in a data centre run by one of two of the biggest tech companies in the world. 
But remember, these aren't infallible! So always make personal copies onto your computer, and preferably onto an external hard drive. If you never want to lose certain photos, burn them to multiple CDs and store in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. It’s extra effort, but you have to weigh up how important those photos are to you, and how far you are willing to go to protect them.

Additionally! Students, for your own sanity, keep a backup of all your work on either multiple devices or multiple USB thumb drives. Keep one drive at home and use one in school/college/university. Never work directly off a USB Memory Stick as they do have a limited number of read/write cycles and can wear out. When you get home “sync” your working files across your devices and drives. It’s extra effort but will help keep your sanity if a file is lost, corrupted or accidentally deleted. Always remember, USB drives are a vector for viruses to spread! Never plug your USB drive into a suspicious computer and never plug a suspicious or mysterious drive into your personal computer! 
Google Drive or Microsoft OneDrive are good, free, platforms to back your documents on to “The Cloud”. They also offer online editing of certain document types. How useful!

Useful Links: Google’s Photo and Video Backup Service Apple’s Backup and Storage Platform Google’s Cloud Storage Service Dropbox, Cloud Storage Service Box, Cloud Storage Service Microsoft’s Cloud Storage Service