Back Up Your Data

Back Up Your Data

by Michelle Lasley

Michelle Lasley is a mother, wife in Pacific Northwest learning to balance green dreams with budget realities.

September 8, 2020

This is all about backing up your data. Why is it important to back up your data? Well, sometimes hardware fails. Sometimes companies make changes and you can no longer access a thing you depend on. Sometimes you accidentally delete a thing. Let’s discuss why it’s important to back up your data. I want you to understand that I started writing this, and it was set to post February 2019. Since then, I’ve had one external hard drive fail and multiple software issues (some I may have caused) that have resulted in reformatting both my laptop and my desktop – more than once.

When I started writing this post, I encountered one reason for the need to backup data – software upgrades. So, let’s start with example #1. I was at a meeting where we worked to make an annual plan. Part of that plan was working on our mindsets. So, we made recordings. I opened the Voice Memos application. I tapped to get a new recording, and it said, “DENNIS Uniform.” “When did I make a DENNIS Uniform voice memo?” I thought. “Maybe it was one of the few times I was here… maybe there was a thought I wanted to record?” I queried, racking my brain. “Well,” I continued in my head, silently, “that’s not what I want this named. Maybe it was a mistake.” I trashed the memo and started over. It read, again, “DENNIS Uniform.” This kept happening. Finally, I gave up, recorded my memo, and researched later.

Apple redid how voice memos were stored and how they operated. The whole application got an overhaul. And, unfortunately, I didn’t know this when I updated my software to the latest edition. And, for those curious, the reason it kept showing DENNIS Uniform is the naming changed to a location-based naming system.

(I highly recommend keeping software updated. This is the risk-averse strategy to make sure you have the most secure operating system on your device. Yes, there are risks like when a developer overhauls an application.)

For a moment, I freaked out because in my next moment of research, I couldn’t find all of my previous voice recordings. YEARS of voice recordings. Although I don’t use voice memos that often, I do use them to capture things Levi has said over the years. Like when he would tell silly stories in his 4-year-old voice. While I don’t listen to those memos often, they have a lot of sentimental value.

Fear not, as I back up my data. I make sure to not only backup my information using the iCloud synchronization offered (for a fee), but I also back up my data on an external hard drive. This ensures documents, photos, and yes, even voice memos, are in a secure secondary location.

It is very important to have double-redundancy in your back up system. So, just saving to the cloud isn’t enough. And, remember, if you only have one copy of something, that’s not backed up. One data-saving strategy I use is to off-load unused apps onto an external hard drive. This is fine, except, then the data is no longer backed up. I encourage my clients to get a backup hard drive for their back up hard drive. Perhaps you back that one up a little less often, but if those pictures are important, you’ll want the redundancy.

It’s not often that an application has a complete overhaul, but it does happen. There are a lot of other reasons why data shifts, or changes, including failing hardware. So, if those little pieces of data, like my recordings of my son’s four-year-old voice are important, you need to prioritize backing up your data.

If you use an Apple device, TimeMachine is the native program that automatically maps your data to an assigned external hard drive. My current backup set up looks like this:
◆ I use iCloud for storing my files. That means MOST of my every-day use files are automatically backed up to the cloud.
◆ I have one 2 TB external hard drive for Time Machine backups.
◆ I have one 2 TB external hard drive for DATA only backups that I synchronize with ChronoSync Express.
◆ I have one 5 TB external hard drive that holds backups of BOTH external hard drives. This ensures my redundancy.

Be sure to check the health of your external drives, too. Hardware does degrade over time, and you don’t want your data to go with it! I speak from experience in all of these things. So, please, learn from my mistakes, don’t lose years of photos because you didn’t update your backup data. Just back it up, and keep it backed up.

If you want to learn more, or you want a review of your backup situation, let’s schedule a call. Remember, I offer first-free 30-minute tech consults. You can schedule yours here.

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