How to Back Up Your Files and Encrypt Them?
We accumulate a lot of data day by day in the forms of emails, documents, recordings, chats, and videos. For the sake of future references, we must back up these files and encrypt them to make sure no one without authorization can read them.
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To efficiently protect yourself against data loss, you need to save copies of your files in multiple locations. In doing this, there are a few considerations to be made
What Data Should You Back Up?
1. Personal and Work Data
If you misplace your device or it gets damaged, every file from work or about you would be lost. To ensure that you will have copies of your pictures, and other personal or work-related data, it’s advised that you back them up in a different location such as cloud storage, or external memory storage.
Your work file may be backed up by your employer as it’s not directly your property, and most companies usually have set policies about the backup process.
Interesting Read : The 6 Best Encrypted Email Service for Extra Security
2. Chat App Messages
People don’t send emails as much as they used to as everyone rather uses messaging apps to text. A lot of important information would continuously be shared between parties and all of that could be lost in most cases if you switch devices due to damage or loss of your precious device. A platform such as WhatsApp will give you a choice to back up your chats, and provide you with the frequency of back up options. While telegram backs up your data automatically in their custom cloud.
3. Social Media Posts
Social media platforms hold a lot of data like chats, pictures, and videos. While you can have access to them at the moment, you may lose them for life if for a reason your account gets terminated. So it’s important that apart from posting your data on social media, you need to back it up where it would be saved and always available to you.
Many online social media platforms allow users to download their past uploads and posts, and this can come in handy if you want to close the account but require the data.
Where You Can Back Up Your Data?
There are different options when it comes to backing up your data. The location determines who has access to the data, and how access can be gotten.
1 . External Disc
There are different types of the external disc such as USB stick, SSD, and hard drive. Each one is best suited for a particular kind of operation; the size of data and frequency of backups. For instance, a small SSD can be used to back up your very important data quickly. A slower and cheaper hard drive would be good enough to back up large data that doesn’t need frequent updates. Keeping the backup external disc and your computer in the same location is a bad move because you would lose both the original data and the backup version if something goes wrong.
2. The Cloud
The use of hard drives is limited because the whole idea is to keep it hidden and safe from theft or destruction. This can be a bit of a problem if you don’t have your own space. Also, your hard drive could fail, leading to a loss of data, or get stolen. It’s also limited in use as the data can’t be accessed by multiple users at a time. Cloud storage serves to solves these problems.
With cloud storage services, you can store your data easily, share with others, and keep it accessible across devices. As much as it offers great benefits, it also comes with huge risks. The cloud service provider would have access to your data and they can lock you out, go through your data, and even sell it to third parties. So it’s important to choose trusted and reliable services only.
Interesting Read : How to Protect Your Data when Visiting Non-encrypted HTTP Sites?
Data theft is common with cloud storage as hackers are constantly looking for backdoors to steal data for their malicious purposes. To prevent this, a good service provider would usually give you various security features like two-factor authentication. Some providers also provide you with software that will allow your files and folders to be accessible only across devices, but there is a huge risk when the software installation is involved. A basic security protocol is to use a strong password, and its best you use a password manager to help you with remembering your strong passwords.
3. Your Server
The perks of running your server are that you can set it up exactly as you want it. But it is a handful and requires a lot of work and expertise in the subject. With your server, you can choose between storage options like the fast and more expensive SSD drives, magnetic tapes, or HDD.
Encrypt Your Data
It doesn’t matter where you store your files, adding a layer of encryption makes them more secure and ensures your privacy. For instance, if you store your encrypted files on a cloud service, data theft, leaks, or the action of the cloud service provider won’t affect you as your files can only be read by you. Also, storing encrypted files on hard discs takes away the fear of losing the disc as your data can only be read by you since you alone hold the decryption key.
Full Disk Encryption
Full disk encryption is a popular encryption option for your SSD, external hard drive, or USB stick. Software like VeraCrypt allows you to fully encrypt external hard drives. You can update your back up after plugging in the USB stick by decrypting the file using the key. All data is contained in a single encrypted container.
Cloud services also allow you to create a similar encrypted single container for all your data but it only works if the content of the container remains the same. Changes to the container would mean that every piece of data has to be backed up again. So if you would be updating your backup frequently, it’s better that you encrypt your files separately.
Interesting Read : How to encrypt Gmail to secure your emails?
Pretty Good Privacy can be used to encrypt your data individually as well as collectively. You can also use this form of encryption to sign your files so that you and those who are authorized can authenticate them.
The use of PGP requires software to generate a public-private key pair for you after which you encrypt the files you want to back up. The files can only be decrypted by those with the private key.
Encrypted Cloud Storage
Some cloud storage service providers claim they encrypt your data on your computer first before backing up so they don’t see what you are storing. While this theoretically solves the privacy worry of having the cloud service provider snooping and selling off data to third parties, the claim isn’t verified. And so it would be better for you to always encrypt your data yourself before handing over to the cloud service.
After securing all your data and encrypting it, the biggest problem then presents itself; where would you store the encryption key and password? If you are using a password, you can try to always remember it but it may not be easy. An encryption key also has to be remembered. You may choose to back them up online, but it puts you at risk. A physical location may get destroyed or discovered too.
Note that whoever gets hold of your password or encryption key can gain access to your backed up data. If you forget this key, you won’t have access to your data and it’ll be as good as lost. So use the best software or physical location that is most secure to you, and store your encryption key and password there.
As far as data storage is concerned, privacy is always an issue. This is because when you back up, you mostly transfer your data to a different medium where a third party may stumble upon. So apart from the fear of losing the backup too, you must ensure your privacy isn’t compromised. This can be achieved by encrypting the files before storage.
If you are a privacy enthusiast, then try the best VPN service when next you are going online. A VPN not only encrypts your connections, but it also hides your IP address. So those monitoring you would never know your real location, and would never get hold of your data or make anything out of it.