• Andrea Bazoin

Creating a solid, but flexible, file backup system

Updated: Jun 4, 2019


Everyone knows that storing all of your digital files onto just one computer is a bad idea. If you get a virus, or your computer crashes, you lose everything. But, what's the best strategy for creating a file backup system? This is not necessarily an easy question to answer. Most people have multiple computers, a variety of mobile devices, and one or more cloud storage/backup accounts. In addition, we often store our files on external hard drives, flash drives, and other removable media like CD's and DVDs. How are you supposed to know where to store all of this data?

Putting mobile aside for the moment, let's compare the four primary locations for storing our personal data: computers, external hard drives, cloud storage services, and cloud backup services. And, yes, there is a difference between cloud storage and cloud backup. I have provided a handy chart to compare some of the features and risks of each storage location.

My main advice is this:

  1. First, compile all of your digital files onto an external hard drive.

  2. Back this information up using a Cloud Backup service such as Carbonite, iDrive, Backblaze, CrashPlan, etc.

  3. When time allows, purge your external hard drive of documents that no longer serve a purpose.

  4. Sign up for a Cloud Storage service, and download the Cloud Drive to your computer. Cloud storage services include Apple iCloud, Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, Dropbox, etc.

  5. Save any currently in-use documents to your Cloud Drive, which is synced regularly with your computer. Access the files from multiple computers/devices.

  6. Regularly move any documents no longer in-use:

  7. Documents that no longer serve a purpose should be deleted.

  8. Critical files you wish to keep long-term can be moved to your external hard drive, where they will be backed up through your Cloud Backup service


By using this system, you can feel confident that your most important documents are backed up safely, and the documents you need to access and share more readily are easily available wherever you go.

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