In the past, we talked about different choices you can make regarding data storage, but now we’ll touch on what to do with that data to ensure you never lose it. For many of us, data storage management stops after saving something to the hard drive. It’s easier to save something and assume that it will be forever safe in our hard drives, but this is a dangerous practice to keep. It is much wiser to keep various safeguards to ensure you won’t lose any important data.
Dangers to Hard Drives
There are various factors in data loss; from problems with the drive itself, to misuse by the user. The most common form of data loss comes from failure of the hard drive itself. Misuse, such as overheating (from a buildup of dust), water damage, or power surges are dangerous to hard drives. Internal issues, such as corrupted files or wear on the disk can also cause damage to a hard drive. The most obvious signs of a failing hard drive are files failing to open, slower than normal startup times, crashes on startup, or strange noises from the hard drive itself.
Other Ways to Lose Data
While hard drive failure is the most common form of data loss, there are some other ways to lose important data. Sometimes, data can be lost accidentally; we have all done it, accidentally deleted a file that we desperately needed. This is why the recycling bin exists: to catch accidentally deleted files before they are lost forever. You can use the recycling bin to restore any file you may have deleted on accident. Another threat to your files comes from malware and viruses. Many hackers have released viruses with the express intent of holding data for ransom. Hackers will essentially hold your files hostage on your own computer and only release them if you pay them. Many people give in to their demands and pay this ransom to get access to their data. Other more malicious viruses simply delete data without warning. Another, less obvious, source of data loss is theft of the computer itself. If someone steals your PC, you would be hard pressed getting your data back, even if the police do manage to find your computer.
Data Storage Methods
How can we cut down on data loss and ensure file safety? The easiest and cheapest method of data storage is using flash drives. They are small, relatively cheap, and can store large amounts of data; flash drives are perfect for taking data on the go and storing information in a safe place. Another, albeit more pricey, option would be to buy an external hard drive for the computer. External hard drives trade extreme portability for the ability to store massive amounts of data. Arguably the most popular form of data storage is cloud storage; millions of people use services like Dropbox, OneDrive, and iCloud to store backup data. While cloud storage is an easy way to save and access your files from anywhere, completely relying on the cloud is potentially dangerous. Since the cloud is always online, it is vulnerable to hackers, and while most of these storage providers spend top dollar on security, never assume something is 100% safe online. In addition, if these storage providers ever went out of business or decided to end their cloud support, millions of people would potentially lose access to their files and lose one of their data storage options. No matter what choice you make, data storage is one of the most important practices to keep.