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Are You Keeping Your Digital Data Safe?

Data Backups????? What Are Those?

Have you ever lost your files? I can tell you from experience that it is a gut sickening experience. All it takes is a sudden hard drive failure to lose everything, even with a new computer. I had a top of the line HP business desktop that suffered a hard drive failure only 1 month after purchase. Luckily I had already learned to create backups.

It's Not That Complicated

"I'll do it tomorrow"

A great majority of us tend to procrastinate this backup process. It is not an issue of "IF my computer hard drive crashes", but "WHEN it crashes". Storage devices wear out or quickly go "bad". They should probably be replaced fairly often, or at least every few years.

  • Have you developed a plan to keep your files always backed up?
  • Is it an automatic backup?
  • Have you checked to see that the backup service is actually backing up? (the operating system backup services can just shut off)
  • What if your computer and backups are stolen, or destroyed in a fire or flood?
  • Do you have an offsite backup?
  • Do you have a family member that is responsible to be the "backup person" in your family?
  • How are you going to make sure that your precious photos and family documents continue to be maintained after you are gone?

What Are "Cloud Drives?"



"Cloud Drives" are basically large server farms that host huge amounts of storage capacity for individuals and corporations to store their files on. Each user can use a completely self-contained encrypted chunk of that storage for their own files. As long as you practice good security standards, your data is safe from outside viewing. What are those standards? A very strong password and using "two factor authentication". What this means is that upon you logging in with your username and strong password, the system will send you either a text message or email with an additional code that you will have to enter. This ensures that you are truly the owner of this cloud space.

Most provider companies offer a small desktop app that will sync your local files with their servers. This is very handy as it allows files to be modified let's say on a laptop, and then those changes are automatically synchronized with all of your other connected devices.

Where Do I Get Them?

There are many different businesses that will "rent" you space on their servers. Amazon Web Services has the largest server storage sites. Microsoft OneDrive, Apple iCloud, Google Drive, and Dropbox are some of the more common ones out there. Most of these services will offer a small amount of "free" storage space. Google is the most "giving" with its 15 gb storage capacity. This may sound like a lot, but actually it's a small amount. I personally have almost 43,000 images of my family over the years or about 300 gb of needed storage space.

Cost can run from about $1 per month for about 200 gb, to $120/year for 2 terabytes. Just google "cloud drives", and you will be presented with a variety of different providers for these. It's quite easy to sign up and get started with a provider. Do your research first though to ensure that you are getting a good provider. The ones mentioned above are the most commonly used, but Box, iDrive, and others can also provide you good service.

Are They Safe to Use?

If you leave your house open while you go shopping, you are not practicing good security habits. If you keep a mediocre password on your account, you will become a huge cybersecurity risk.

Complex and long passwords ALONG with Two Factor Authentication will make your account “hacker proof”. Two Factor Authentication is nothing more than making sure you are the person you appear to be when you are logging into your account. The system will send you an email or a text message with a code that you need to additionally provide before being logged into the site with.

Why Should I Consider Using a "Cloud Drive"?

One of the most important reasons to do so, is to have your data backed up and stored in an “off-site” location, just in case you have a house fire, flood, hard drive failure, or computer theft. Should one of these things happen to you, you can still easily access all of your files by logging into the server and re-downloading them onto your brand new computer.

Another big reason to use cloud drives is that you can easily SHARE your files with your family relations by using a simple “link” that you send them in an email. That link contains the information they need to access the files that you are sharing with them. Most of the time, your link is for “view only” permissions, which means that they will not be able to edit, move, or delete your files, but only view them and download them.

Don't Worry, Be Happy! Your Safe!

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  • Make your account password STRONG like the one above, AND use Two Factor Authentication. Not only would someone have to figure out a very difficult password, but they would also have to have access to your phone or other device to verify that it is you that is trying to log in. However, you will only need to log into your account ONCE on your computer when setting up the desktop synching application.
  • If for some reason your cloud service disappears one day, you still have your local daily hard drive backups and those files on your computer's hard drive available. Using a well known cloud service like Google, Microsoft, Dropbox, etc they will continue on for a very long time.

Preserving Our Heritage

Our own personal heritage and that of our ancestors will be lost to subsequent generations unless we take steps to actively preserve it.

Site Maintained by:

Stephen A Meyers of Idaho Falls, Idaho