Tips for Backups

The only backup you will ever regret is the one you didn’t make. Though World Backup Day was the last day of March, you shouldn’t think about it only once a year. The point of a backup of your electronic data—a DVD, thumb drive, or a syncing service like iCloud, Dropbox or Backblaze—is that you want to be able to recover data when bad things happen. That can be theft of a device, failure of a hard drive, or malicious encryption of data through accidentally clicked-through phishing emails, among other things.

There are a variety of approaches to data backup, but all should start with figuring out what needs to be copied. You may not need to back up everything, but start with what makes you money or would cost money to recreate. Add what you may have to keep for legal reasons, and deter- mine the value of it all. Then decide what percentage to spend on keeping it backed up or duplicated. Next, consider how you would want to implement something like the 3-2-1 approach: three copies of data (including the original), with two types of backups — one offsite and offline. That last one is really important in order to avoid ransomware attacks. Finally—and this is rarely practiced—you should practice how to restore those backups.

One item I like to add when discussing backups is that you should ensure you have a printed list printed of your logins and passwords for all sites. Or, at least, for your email, smartphone account and any login that does not use your email address for password reset. If you use a password manager, include that master password in this printed-out password backup.

It is shocking when you get a text from yourself, coming from your own phone number. It is fake, as your phone number can be spoofed. What to do? Apart from not clicking through any link “you” sent to you, report it to the FCC ( Reporting it as spam to your own carrier may not do much; they should have already been able to catch those spam texts (and some do).

There may be times you really want to unplug while on vacation, but there are very few places that actually don’t have internet access. Before you go on vacation, tell people that internet won’t be available.

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