Protecting digital info from natural disaster

National Preparedness Month (September) is a good time to talk about how to protect your photos and information in case of a natural disaster or computer malfunction. You can’t always predict when disaster will occur, especially with flooding or fire, but you can take steps to keep your digital treasures and data safe in case the unexpected occurs.

The best way to avoid losing precious memories is to be sure to back up your data. A backup can just be a copy stored in a separate location for safekeeping. This is not storing your files is a separate folder on the same device. To keep a backup as a safe method for storage, these documents must be kept on a separate device and preferably in a separate location. There are more choices than ever when it comes to backing up your data and we will look at a few here. You can rely on external hard drives to store your backup data (and use services such as File History for Windows or Time Machine for Mac) or use a third party cloud component, which for most people feels more intuitive. Below are some standard, stable options.

OneDrive: Microsoft’s online cloud syncing service instantly uploads and stores your files.

iCloud: Cloud services for mac users. I highly recommend never losing your password to any of these accounts, but especially not this one.

Dropbox: I was oh so grateful that I had recently sent all of my data to Dropbox when a dreaded iPad malfunction caused all of my notes, photos, recipes, music and personal digital library to become unaccessible. I’m not always good about backing up my data, but luckily I had just recently backed up years of my Goodnotes notebooks on the cloud and saved myself weeks of recreating what I could remember from those files. I also didn’t lose years of all of my doodles, because honestly that would have been devastating.

Google Drive: similar to Dropbox as a platform flexible storage solution.

Flickr- a popular photo sharing community that has a large but limited amount of free space to store and share photos. A paid version with unlimited space as well.

These are just a few easy options among the many more out there. These days back-up is not as much of a chore as it used to be. A few button clicks can prepare you for the day you will be glad you did, like when your laptop falls in the lake.

Do you have a favorite back-up solution? Want to share a story about when you wished you had? We are happy to hear from you in the comments below.

Amber Bonnett

Hi! I’m Amber and I help readers, creatives, makers and other curious types use our ebooks, audiobooks, digital movies and databases. Have questions? Find me at the library, walking my dogs downtown, biking around our community or at abonnett@tscpl.org.