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We've Got Your Back(up)

Nidhi Singal     April 1, 2017

It takes just a second for your entire virtual world to come crashing down. Years of work, documents, pictures and music are lost as you sit staring at the computer screen wishing it was just a nightmare. Having all your data in only one place is unwise and unsafe. Instead of learning this the hard way, opt for backups.

Backing up simply means creating a copy of all your data so that you can access it in case of an emergency (if internal hard drive crashes or laptop gets stolen). A practice best followed daily or, better still, every 15 minutes. Thankfully, it is not as cumbersome at it seems.

There are software solutions for automatic data backup - on external drive, on cloud or rewritable disc - every time a new file is created or a change is made to an existing one. Some are free, while others offer the option of monthly subscription and security features such as password protection and encryption.

Here are a few backup solutions you can bank on:

Acronis True Image 2017: A popular software solution, it can fully back up your computer. Available for Windows as well as Mac systems, it allows you to back up files of your choice or create a full image backup - including operating system, programmes, settings, files, and boot information - on a USB external drive or a network-attached storage (NAS). It also allows you to back up phones, tablets and Facebook content. It offers advanced, active data protection against data loss and ransomware. Additionally, one can purchase the Acronis Cloud backup as well. It is available in three licensed variants - one-time purchase, standard subscription, and premium subscription. Price: $39.99 onwards.

GoodSync: GoodSync synchronises and backs up files such as photos, financial documents, MP3s, and e-mails between desktops, laptops, servers and external drives. It can automatically detect and synchronise creation, deletion, and other changes made by the user in folders, sub-folders and files. Its ability to detect and send only changed blocks of big files - ones in the source folder that have been changed since the last backup - results in improving transfer speeds. GoodSync can also detect file/folder renames and execute them as move commands. It uses AES (advanced encryption standard) with 256-bit key for encryption, which assures secure transfers. The free version of the software allows one to back up 100 files. The Pro version for $29.95 offers unlimited file backups and supports the unattended mode.

EaseUS Todo Backup Home 10.0: This software, compatible with machines running only on Windows operating system, allows you to back up the system and restore it to the original state in case disaster strikes. It ensures you can easily and safely migrate across operating systems. The file-level backup feature allows you to back up specific files, folder or file type, including network-shared files. It also supports Outlook Email backup. While it is available for a free trial, a one-year subscription of the full version of the software can be purchased for $29.95.

Cloud Backup

Backing up on the cloud is a safe bet. Services such as Dropbox and Google Cloud allow you to back up content but with limited storage. There are others such as iDrive and Norton Backup that allow you to purchase storage space. And then there are services that offer unlimited data storage for backing up your entire digital life.

Here are two cloud services you can use:

CrashPlan: Subscription-based CrashPlan offers unlimited cloud storage for backup with 448-bit encryption and a private key option for greater security. It also has a mobile app that allows you to access the files from anywhere. It even keeps deleted files forever (unless users decide not to keep them). It works in the background and consumes minimal CPU power. If your backup is interrupted, or you switch to sleep mode, CrashPlan automatically resumes when your computer is available again. Its online application lets you keep an eye on your family's backup status through email alerts. CrashPlan offers a 30-day free trial, post which one can upgrade or continue to back up on local drives and other computers indefinitely without cloud backup. Price: $5.99/month; $59.99/year.

SOS Online Backup: Offering military grade multi-layer encryption for greater security, SOS Online Backup covers all devices, including tablets, mobiles, and even data on Facebook. Its Save Forever feature allows multiple edits, changes and deletes, and retains all file versions. It can wipe and locate devices, and perform remote backups, too. SOS Online Backup comes at a monthly subscription plan of $4.99 for 50-GB cloud storage and $7.99 per month for 100-GB storage.

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