1. Goal 5

Back Up Your Files

A solid backup plan can protect your data in several ways.


What do backups have to do with security?

I think of maintaining access to your data as a core component of security. Maybe you have important files for work or personal accounting or health info. Or perhaps you just have a large photo collection that you don't want to lose.

Backups can also make updating the OS and apps safer and less unnerving. When you have full-disk backups (such as with macOS Time Machine backups) you can usually roll back your whole computer if you happen to have a failed update.

And of course, if you have a well-protected offsite or offline copy of your data, it may help you in case of a ransomware attack.

How to back up your data

I believe that a well-protected backup, that exists in multiple places, is that foundation to an effective backup strategy. Ideally, your backups are encrypted, are hard for a bad actor to access, and live both in the cloud and on-site (in your home or office).

A common approach to backups is called the “3-2-1 Backup Strategy.” In short, this means that you keep 3 total copies of your data:

  • The main files themselves, on your computer or mobile device
  • A backup of these files on a local device like a hard drive
  • Another backup of these files in a secure cloud environment

The options differ between computers and mobile devices, so we'll cover each of those separately in the steps below.

Are cloud backups safe?

They can be! If you use a solid provider that properly encrypts and protects your data, your backups in the cloud should be as or more safe as your on-site copy.

What we'll be doing

I'll walk through how to enable local and cloud backups for your laptop or desktop, then move on to your mobile devices.

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