Internet Safety for Kids Episode 12 - Making and protecting backups

Internet Safety for Kids Episode 12 – Making and protecting backups

Hi, welcome to Internet Safety for Kids and thank you for joining our program!

As always with our program Internet Safety for Kids, please make sure to watch this episode together when possible, so you all learn and understand these important topics. Don’t allow the adults to say that they already know everything because there will be plenty to learn for them, too!

All the devices we use are basically composed of 5 things. The device itself, the operating system on that device, the apps we use on the device, the settings and of course all the data and information we store on the device. Now imagine that something happens to our device. Maybe we lost it, or it fell and is permanently broken. Or we got a virus. Or even worse, our device is encrypted by ransomware. We can replace the device or have it repaired. The operating system comes with the device and when needed we can install it again, just like the apps. But what happens to all the information and the settings? That is what the backups are for and that is our topic for today.

We will explain why is it important, what does it mean, and what should you do. Are you with us?

In many cases people start thinking about a backup when it is already too late, and they wish they would have a good backup of their data. It is not difficult at all to make good backups, but most people do not pay attention to it and when they do have a problem with their accounts or devices, they end up losing their data. To make sure that this does not happen to you, we will explain you how to make backups and how to keep them safe which is just as important.

A backup is basically a copy of all the information you have on your device and in many cases, this also includes the settings of for example apps, accounts, and the device itself. This can be done as a mirrored backup where the backup is an exact copy of whatever information you have on your device, or an incremental or so-called growing backup which adds all new information but also keeps the old information. The difference is that when you delete something from your device, for example a picture, it will also be deleted from a mirrored backup but not from a growing backup. So, in short, a mirrored backup is an exact copy of your data, and an incremental backup keeps growing, that is why we will call it a growing backup.

Both types of backups have advantages and disadvantages, and it is important that you understand the difference and decide which one is best for you. And when you want to do it right, you might even decide to use both types of backups. Let us start with the mirrored backup. This is great when for example your device was lost or stolen, and you have replaced it. The mirrored backup will allow you to put everything back in place and you can continue as if nothing happened. This is how for example most automatic cloud backups work like for example Apple and Android devices. Your device automatically synchronizes everything you store and whatever happens on your device also happens on your mirrored backup in the cloud.

This is a great way of having an automatic backup of all your information but there are also some downsides we should not ignore. The first downside is of course that a mirrored backup only has the information that you currently have on your device and that means that everything that is no longer on your device is also not in your backup. But we all know the situation that we do not have enough memory on our device and have to delete data. That means they will also be deleted from the backup. What if you need them in the future? For example, that great video from a few years ago which you deleted to make memory available? It will not be available. Or when you made a mistake and notice it too late. There is another risk with mirrored backups and that is advanced viruses and ransomware that are able to also attack those backups. And of course, you have to make sure that your mirrored backup is secured and preferably encrypted so only you can access it.

Although a mirrored backup can be very convenient and is a good option to be able to restore your device instantly, it is not a solution for everything, especially not when you have a lot of data and do not want to keep everything on your device. That is where a growing backup comes in and that can be used in addition to a mirrored backup. An incremental or growing backup allows you to keep a lot of information and keeps adding new information without deleting older information. It is something like being able to travel through the past of your information, and all information is there when you need it.

A growing backup will quickly become much bigger than the space you get with most cloud synchronization options and buying additional space can be rather expensive. And you also have to keep in mind that a growing backup does exactly what its name says it does. It keeps growing! So, the first thing you need is enough storage space to keep your growing backup. The next thing you need is an app that does the backup for you. Some operating systems have backup options build in, but you can of course also use a special backup app that offers you more options. When you want to use a free backup app, we recommend that you visit our friends at Older Geeks dot Com.

OK, all set. You have decided on the storage, for example an external USB disk for your computer, and you have picked the backup app you want to use. Now we get to the part where most growing backups go wrong. The user! A lot of people get started but then forget to make regular backups. And this is something you have to keep in mind. You only have the data until the last time you made a backup, so all data between that moment and now is not stored. So, it is important that you really make regular backups, we recommend at least once per week. By making regular backups, you achieve two important things. First, in case of emergency you will have most of your data, and secondly, making the backup will go much faster when it only has to store data from for example a week instead of three months.

Most people decide to use both types of backups and that is a smart solution. The mirrored backup allows you to quickly restore your device when needed, and the growing backup allows you to store and get information for which you do not have enough memory on your device. Maybe that is also the best solution for you? Either way, you have to make sure you have a good backup when needed and you have to keep your backup safe and secure. Here are some important tips for you.

  • Backups protect you against data losses when something happens to your devices or accounts.
  • You can not get data from the backup you did not make, so make sure you have a recent backup.
  • Make sure to protect your backup and secure it with a strong password and encryption.
  • Keep your backup in a safe place and only use your backup to restore data in an emergency.
  • When you use an external USB device to make backups you should only use it for backups and nothing else.
  • Before you restore data from a backup, make sure you have antivirus and antimalware software and that you scan your device before you connect to your backup.
  • The only backup you will regret is the backup you did not make, so make sure you make regular backups and keep them secure for when you really need them.

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