Online security

8 August 2019

Backups: doing the right thing

Anyone who uses a computer or smartphone experiences, at some point, data loss, the theft of their device or a device crash making it unusable. That's when you are glad you made a backup of your device.

What sort of data should I back up?

The best thing is to keep everything in a safe place. By making a complete copy of your computer or smartphone, you will be able to recover not only your data but also your settings. This of course takes time and disk space.

You can also opt for a more lightweight backup by choosing your most important data, such as family photos, music or personal videos – in general, data that cannot be recovered.

What are the solutions?

Most smartphone manufacturers and software publishers offer free space in their cloud (read our advice on how to use the cloud safely). You can choose the type of data that you would like to back up. It is also advisable to back up your smartphone manually on a regular basis by connecting it to your computer (for example, using iTunes if you have an iPhone). In this case, you will make a complete copy of your phone that will be easy to restore if, for example, it is lost or stolen.

As for computers, there are also several cloud solutions, such as DropBox, iCloud, etc. Again we recommend backing up all the data on your device from time to time. Use a hard disk specifically for backups, which should be encrypted so that your data cannot be accessed by a hacker.

Watch out for worms, (such as the latest versions of cryptoware) which spread throughout computer networks. This means that the hard disk on which you make your backups must never be connected to your device all the time or there is a risk that they become infected. (Read our advice on how to combat cryptoware).

How to create a backup?

If you automatically back up your most important data in the cloud, for example, it is enough to create a full backup once a month. It is up to you to decide how often based on how you use your device.

Remember to set up automatic backups on your smartphone. The main mobile operating systems (iOS and Android) or telephone manufacturers offer automatic backup systems in the cloud. However, watch out as sometimes backups are only created under certain conditions. iOS smartphones, for example, must be charging, locked and connected to Wi-Fi. 

One last word of advice

When on holiday or away for a longer period of time, it is wise not to keep the physical backup (your hard disk) and your computer in the same place. If stolen or a fire breaks out when you are away, you risk losing everything. Leave your backup hard disk with someone you trust or in a safe at the bank to prevent this.