A brief note on backups

Backups are important – I guess mostly anyone has heard about that and can say at least a reason why. Avoiding loss is the main theme of the topic.

It is important, though, to pay attention to the backups we perform. Some people may know what I’m talking about: you should make your backups regularly, and check that they’re properly executed, that you can actually restore the information.

It is unusual, though to have people backing up a lot of important things. We’re mostly covered by the cloud now, although I’d also recommend local backup media, just in case.

Take some time this weekend or the next to set everything up, if you can: get some external hard disk drives, dust off your account(s) for whatever cloud data storage service(s) you’re using, and make sure your important data is backed up. Please, remember that cloud services can be broken into and can fail, just like your local media. The trick is to have several copies – redundancy.

Some items to look out for:

  • Personal Contacts
  • Important pictures
  • Important texts you may have written
  • Important e-mails
  • Your library of legally purchased software
  • The license codes for your legally purchased software (if applicable)

Also, remember that the access to the services you use on the net is important and needs to be backed up. Make sure you have a secondary e-mail set up to be able to recover your primary e-mail, or your phone set up for the same purpose. Try and enable two factor authentication whenever possible, to prevent possible data loss and identity theft. Preferably, have everything be recoverable from your phone or your secondary e-mail, don’t tell anyone about the secondary e-mail, and store the secondary e-mail’s password somewhere you won’t lose it, and without labels, and among other things that you can tell are not your password. Do not use the same password for both e-mails.

After everything is set: make sure the data you’ve backed up is accessible; make sure to refresh the backed up data every so often, even better if you set up an automatic job for that.

Also, try recovering your accounts as if you lost the passwords, to make sure the procedures really work. This may save you a lot of pain when you really, urgently need to access your accounts and the phone where you’d been logged in for so long that you no longer remember the password gets lost or stolen or broken or bricked.

You may be in for a short-term hassle, but believe me, if the day comes when you need to recover any account or service or data, you will be thankful that this bit of hassle is so cheap.

The rules for backups:

  1. Make them early
  2. Refresh them often
  3. Test them ocassionally
  4. Cover all your bases

Have a nice weekend.

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