And, going right along with organizing your file structure, comes organizing your backups. You may think that backups are not particularly important, but they are. What happens if your hard drive fails, for example? In my case, I had to reinstall Windows (part of the reason there was a 6-week gap in my posts) but unless you want to scan all that data again, you need a backup (preferably more than one) in another location. But where?
The answer to that last question will depend, in part, on how much data you actually have. I don’t mean the number of files, but the amount of space they take up on your device. It will also depend on whether you use a computer (desktop or laptop) or another type of device. Either way, you should certainly be looking at backing up your data externally. Here are some suggestions:
- If you don’t have much data, copy it to an thumb drive, often called a flash drive, USB drive, or memory stick. They come in many different sizes. I have seen them hold as much as 1 TB of data, although a drive that size would be fairly costly.
- An external hard drive that is housed inside an enclosure that you then attach to your computer via cable. I have seen them hold as much as 10 TB of data, but you could probably pick up a 4 TB drive for less than $100.
- If you have Dropbox, that’s also a great place to store data. They used to have a free service giving you 2.50 GB of space. That’s not much space, really, but it was free. They are honoring that for existing users, but the lowest level of service you can now sign up for costs $8.25 per month (equals $99 per year) for 1 TB of space. The advantage is that Dropbox keeps your files, and all you need to do to access the data is to sign in. The only risk is if their servers fail.
- Microsoft OneDrive. If you have Windows 10, you already have this service and the free version gives you 5 GB of space. This is upgradable, though. For $69.99 you can get Office 365 Personal with 1 TB of storage, as well as access to the Microsoft Office suite of programs. For an additional $30, you can get Office 365 Home for up to 6 users, all of whom get 1 TB of storage.
- Other backup services. One well-known service is BackBlaze, which gives unlimited backup for just $5 a month. Bear in mind that this is a different type of service. Unlike Dropbox or OneDrive, you cannot simply access your files online as if they were part of your filing system. Rather, you can get a free zip download sent to you via email, or order a USB flash drive ($99) or hard drive ($189), and restore after you receive it.