Be honest now . . . what was the last time you backed up any of your computer data, let alone your genealogy research data? And are you covering all your bases with multiple backups (cloud and external drive) and multiple devices (desktop computer, tablet, smartphone)? Luckily, there are many options available with today’s technology, and many are automated to make it easy to backup your data.
So what’s missing? You. You need to commit to backing up your data and ensuring that your research is always available. There’s nothing worse than 20 years of research down the drain because of a hard drive crash or an accidental deletion of a file or folder.
Today is Data Backup Day when many genealogists and family historians take time to ensure that they don’t lose access to their research data, scanned photos and more.
Tips and Tricks for Data Backups
Best advice: There are many choices but you should have at least one form of data backup. Choose the method that works for you!
- External hard drive: The past few years have seen amazing advances in external hard drives including a drop in price, an increase in storage size, a decrease in physical size and a tendency towards portability. For example, the My Passport Ultra 1TB Portable External Hard Drive shown above has lots of storage, is easy to lock up in a safe or take with you on a trip, and is only $65 USD. Click here to check out the latest drives on Amazon and also check the latest ratings for external hard drives here at CNET – a good reliable source which is always up-to-date.
- USB Flash Drive: Some might say using a flash drive is “outdated” or “old fashioned,” but if it works for you, I say go for it! Plus these drives have come down in price, can store more data (8GB and higher) and come in fun shapes like the Despicable Me 2 Minions 3 Pack 8GB USB Flash Drive, Dave, Kevin, Stuart shown above. And click here to view more unusual USB flash drives!Extra tip: make sure your name, email and cell phone are stored on the flash drive in a text file named _IF_FOUND.txt. This way if you leave it in a public computer such as at a library or repository, you have a good chance of getting it back!
- Backup Programs: Various programs such as Backblaze are available and they take all the fuss and worry out of the backup process. You pay a yearly subscription and your computer is constantly backed up to the vendor’s server. You can restore data at any time. Check out the Backblaze program here.
- Cloud Programs. Programs like Dropbox are similar to the online backup programs above but are different in that you can synchronize several devices to the data AND the program is usually free (for limited storage). The book Dropbox in 30 Minutes is an easy way to learn the ins and outs of cloud data storage.
Data Backup Resources
GeneaBloggers has developed a resource list of data backup methodologies and solutions. Click here to learn how you can backup almost every aspect of your blog, your browser, your computer – even Macs!
©2014, copyright Thomas MacEntee