Stuff You Don’t Back Up And Really Should

If you’ve gotten to even within sniffing range of a computer, you’ve no doubt had this point hammered home: “Back up your data! Do it now! Right now! Back it up!” It’s almost like the directives to always wear your seatbelt, or not texting while driving. Sure, it’s all good advice, but it’s not always followed, and all you need to do is be lax just once, at the wrong time and at the wrong place, and everything changes for the worse, and possible permanent damage can be done.

data backups provide data security in case of an accidental data deletion
A USB thumb drive is an essential part of the backup routine

So, back to backups. Most people out there will remember to back up their pictures and their music and videos. People a little more conscientious about their backups will even make sure they back up document files, especially if their livelihood depends on the written word. The problem is, documents, images, music and videos are only part of the whole package that should be backed up. Read on, and be enlightened.

Smart Phones

This one is so blindingly obvious, staring you literally and figuratively in the face, and yet can be so tragically overlooked. Make sure that all of your files on your smart phone, not only the usual photos and ringtones, are backed up. This includes things like your contacts and address books, for instance, or the bookmarks on your smart phone’s browser. If you ever had one of those “what just happened?” moments when your phone suddenly cuts out and reboots, only to positively wipe out everything that was there prior, then you have a good idea as to how important this back up can be. And yes, smart phones do that sometimes.

Device Configuration Back Up

This one is more for small businesses that employ routers, firewalls, switches, and custom devices, to name a few. Each of these devices has been configured to your organization’s unique needs and specifications. What happens if those parameters get wiped out? Companies like Backbox offer automated backup services for networking and security device configurations.

Email

When you stop and think about it, a LOT of transactions get accomplished via email. Not just limited to work and employment, we get emails as payment confirmations (or stop payment confirmations!), electronic receipts, order and delivery confirmations, account alerts, not to mention possibly important or meaningful correspondence. Email programs like Gmail and Outlook give you the option to back up your emails. Of course, one simple low-tech solution is printing out the emails you want to save and just storing them in a file cabinet or such

Note: Just a word of caution here; while backing up your emails is a smart idea, bear in mind that the company you work for owns your work emails. You might want to check into your company’s policy regarding your back up.

Bookmarks And Favorite Places

Here’s another common casualty to system failure or simply switching to a new computer and getting rid of the old one. Let’s say you keep your computer for about three years’ average. During that time, you build up quite a collection of bookmarks and favorite places. Would it be a bad thing if you suddenly lost all of that information? Maybe you bought a new laptop, transferred saved files over to it, got rid of the system, and then realized that all of those wonderful web-surfing bookmarks are gone. You’re going to have to rebuild them. Fortunately, browsers like Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Explorer have functions that allow you to back up those important URLs.

The Rule Of Three

Finally, remember the computer Rule of Three. Your data should exist in triplicate. First is the original data. Second, is a backup of the original data. Third is a backup of the backup. The copies should be kept in different locations, ideally.

In trying to establish the criteria for what you need to back up, start by asking yourself this: “If I lose this data, how difficult would it be to recreate?” If it’s even slightly important, then you need to make sure it’s saved.

If you’re a writer in any capacity (blogger, journalist, author, etc), then your back up should be a holy sacrament to you.

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Born and raised in the Boston area, I was rocketed to New Hampshire, where under the Granite State's yellow sun and lack of income tax, I have gained the powers of super-sarcasm, brilliant creativity, and slightly disturbing sense of humor.

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