In the past week, I met a patron who damaged their ipad and couldn't recover a gallery of pictures important to them AND a small business owner whose business experienced an electrical surge (during last week's storm) that damaged their desktop computer. One common denominator was that neither of these individuals had backups of their device(s) and/or computer(s) and lost information that was critical to them.
In today's world, we have more and more information (music, movies, data files, photos, documents, etc.) stored on computers, laptops, tablets, thumb drives, and external drives. Unfortunately, if you have some or all of your data in only one of these places, your susceptible to loss.
Computer failure, power surges, theft, accidental deletion, natural disaster, fire, age of equipment, or unforeseen damage are just some of the ways you can lose the information you have spent so long creating and accumulating.
The good news is that there is a simple way to prepare for these unexpected and unfortunate events - having a computer/digital backup strategy.
The strategy is simple, develop a plan to identify what information is important to you, utilize a method to backup your data in two (minimal) places, make sure your two places aren't on the same computer/device, and it is highly recommended that at least one of the copies are not stored in the same location.
If there is anything I've learned both personally and professionally over the years - all storage devices will eventually fail and its just a question of when and whether you're prepared.
That said, there are plenty of options for you to choose from: thumb (USB) drives, an external backup drive, and cloud backups are good examples. A combination of these options would certainly reduce your risk of data loss significantly. Each option also comes with its pros and cons: storage size, location of backup, time to backup & recover, cost, synchronized backup or not, and complexity to name a few.
So where do you go from here? Investigate, become an informed consumer, don't be afraid to ask (i.e. family, friend, or a tech support person) and most importantly, be prepared for the unexpected!
Please don't be discouraged or feel overwhelmed. There are plenty of solutions and products that can help take the complexity out of your backup needs. Just be aware that one solution may or may not work with all of your devices.
If you would like to do some preliminary research, I'm a fan of www.tomsguide.com for novice and intermediate technology consumers. There are plenty of other sites to reference but this is a good one to start.
As always, I'm available for consult (as a courtesy of Tunkhannock Public Library) on Wedndays if you would like to discuss further.