You’ve heard the warnings. All it takes is just one run-in with malware or a virus, and all your files are gone. Or maybe it’s even happened to you, the agony of everything being lost to a fried hard drive or a simple human error. If only you had backed everything up, you wouldn’t be frantically trying to recreate the Great American Novel you started five years ago.
The fact is, backing up your devices is one of the easiest, and most important, things to do when it comes to maintaining your digital life and bouncing back from any type of disaster. So why do so few people fail to create backups of their computer, tablets, and mobile devices? According to surveys, more than half of people don’t back up their files, even though more than 75 percent of people believe that data loss would be devastating. It doesn’t make sense, since backups are actually generally easy to do, especially if you have tech support services at your disposal to walk you through the process. Often, the explanation is a weak excuse — and if it’s one of the following, then you really don’t have a leg to stand on.
1. You Forgot
There is absolutely no reason to forget to run a backup. All phones and computers are equipped with calendar functions that will send you a reminder at the appropriate time, but even that isn’t necessary. Whether you want to back up to an external drive or the cloud, your device most likely offers a function that will automatically back up everything at scheduled intervals, without any required intervention.
2. You Don’t Know How
Again, depending on where you are backing up your device to, it’s typically not very complicated. If you are using a backup service, you’ll have access to a guide that walks you through the process step by step. In most cases, it’s as simple as a few clicks; Time Machine on Mac computers, for instance, only requires a few clicks for you to determine the backup location and enable the backups. Even if you must use tech support to walk you through the process a few times, there is no reason to be intimidated.
3. You Have Antivirus
Antivirus and backups have nothing to do with each other. Yes, antivirus will help keep viruses from wreaking havoc on your files and corrupting your files, but it doesn’t help if you have a hardware failure or prevent against human error that leads to file loss. Bottom line? You need both antivirus and backups.
4. You Keep Track of Your Devices
If you were to ask anyone who has had a device lost or stolen, they would probably tell you that they, too, kept track of their devices. It only takes a moment to lose something or for a thief to grab it and take off, and the next thing you know, you are scrambling to not only disable the device but also recapture the files that were lost — you know, like that super cute picture of your kids at the park the other day? Backing up your devices at least gives you peace of mind that all will not be lost if things go wrong, no matter how diligent you may be.
5. You Don’t Have Anywhere to Back up To
This is simply not true. There are plenty of options for backing up data, from inexpensive external hard drives to online services. Services like Dropbox and Google Drive even offer a certain amount of storage for free; you can get more storage in the cloud from any number of services for a small monthly fee. A quick search will unearth several sources, so there’s no excuse for not using one of the many options out there.
6. It Takes Too Long
The first time you backup your files, if you have never done it before, it can take some time. However, if you set up automatic backups, they will take place in the background and you won’t even notice. Or you can schedule your backups for the middle of the night, and wake up with everything safe and secure.
7. It’s No Big Deal
It’s true that most of us have at least a few files on our machines that we wouldn’t miss if they were lost. However, it’s not until you go to find something and realize it’s gone forever that you realize that backups are in fact a big deal. Don’t lose the photos, videos, documents, and other files that are important to you — just take the time to run backups, and keep everything safe.