Picture this: You power on your laptop or phone after an unexpected tumble to the ground and, suddenly, all of your most important files are gone. It’s a nightmare scenario, years of family photos, albums and business documents, lost in an instant.


So, have you backed up your data recently? If you haven’t, you’re not alone. According to the 2020 Backup Awareness Survey conducted by Backblaze, approximately one in three computer owners have never backed up their data (19%) or haven’t backed up in over a year (14%).


And with so many of us working from home these days, cyberattacks are an even greater risk. Acronis found that 46% of consumers aren’t familiar with ransomware attacks, a type of malware that can block access and threaten with data deletion; and 53% aren’t familiar with social engineering attacks, such as phishing emails that attempt to trick recipients into sharing passwords and other sensitive details.


Backing up your data is quick, simple and can spare you from the heartache of losing your digital world.


First, you’ll need an external storage device. Hard disk drives (HDDs) are often less expensive with larger capacities but with slower transfer speeds whereas solid state drives (SSDs) are more expensive with smaller capacities but with much faster transfer speeds. For either type, it’s always best to upgrade to a larger capacity so not to run out of storage space in the near future.


Next, you’ll need to decide what you want to back up and how often. Backing up is the process of copying and then overwriting your data with the latest version on a regular basis, avoiding duplications and wasted storage space. Digital storage devices often include built-in backup software and are effortless to set up, schedule and maintain.


Here’s a quick list of essential data to consider backing up:


Digital media — Photos, videos, music and playlist files, saved game data and any media you don’t want to risk losing in a computer crash.


Important documents — Invoices and receipts for your records, financial and tax forms, legal contracts and any documents you want to access or reference in the future.


School and work projects — Classwork, client documents, business emails, artwork and graphic design files, app data and any files that are essential to your day.


Backup frequency — At least once a week, if not every 24 hours, depending on how often you’re accessing or updating your data.


Use this list as a jumping off point. Are there files and documents you access every month, every week or even every day? Consider backing up anything that meets these criteria.


Lastly, backing up your data is the peace of mind you absolutely need. Now’s the perfect time to start if you aren’t already, and trust me, no one wants to find out their data’s been lost. And by adding or expanding your digital storage and getting into the habit of backing up your data, you won’t have to put your digital world at risk.