Tips for Backing Up Your Files/Data

DSI Client Services – Tips for Backing Up Your Files/Data

Making regular backups of your files is often overlooked, yet a critically important part of keeping your data safe and secure. DSI handles back-ups of campus servers such as the ones hosting your HOME and SHARES drives (also known as the Z & S drives). Individual staff and faculty are responsible for making and keeping backups of files saved on their desktop or laptop computers. The following are guidelines to help you develop a backup strategy.

There are two campus policies that directly intersect with the storing, transmitting, and backing up of institutional data. As you implement a backup strategy, it is important that that the Administrative Data Management and Access Policy and the Information Retention Policy are followed.

Administrative Data Management and Access:
https://www.albright.edu/policies/dsi-administrative-data-management-and-access-policy

Information Retention:
https://www.albright.edu/policies/dsi-information-retention-policy

If you would like assistance, please stop by Client Services or contact us at extension 7676 or clientservices@albright.edu to discuss your options. We’re happy to help you come up with a plan! Once you have a backup routine in place, you will sleep easier knowing that your data is safe! Data recovery services are very expensive, time-consuming, and may not recover 100% of your data.

Step 1: Decide What To Backup

• Your entire computer. Both Windows and MacOS have built-in backup utilities that allow you to automatically make and update a complete copy of your computer on an external drive. This type of backup eliminates the risk of missed files or settings and allows you to restore your complete system after a hardware failure. Best practice is to pair this method with another method that stores files remotely to guard against theft, damage or loss of the external drive. Notably, a full backup often requires a dedicated external drive.

• A specific folder. This could be your computer user folder which typically contains your documents, photos, music, and other settings or a designated folder containing work you want to save.


Step 2: Decide Where To Backup

• External hard drives are economical, convenient and allow for large amounts of storage and work well with automated backup software. They are vulnerable to theft, damage or viruses and should not be your only backup method. Use an encrypted drive if data security is a concern.

• Flash drives are portable and well suited for manual backup of current work. They are less durable than external drives, easily lost, and not appropriate for complete system recovery. Use an encrypted drive if data security is a concern.

• Online backup or cloud storage can be a cost-effective way to protect large personal files such as photos, videos, and music from catastrophic loss. Be sure to carefully review the privacy and security policies and practices of any service before you upload personal information you consider confidential. Albright institutional data is prohibited from being stored in personal cloud backup storage.

• Network Storage. Confidential Albright College data should be backed up to your HOME (Z) drive. Network storage on your Albright HOME folder provides the best combination of accessibility and availability for files.

Your HOME folder is suitable for backing up to 10 GB of your files. It is not appropriate for backing up complete systems or user profiles. Data saved on the network is not at risk if your computer is stolen. Albright hosted servers are centrally backed up regularly.

Step 3: Decide How To Backup

We recommend you mix and match the methods below to create a comprehensive strategy that allows you to recover quickly from events such as hard drive failures but can also protect against losses due to viruses, damage or theft. A common approach is to mix cloud or network-based storage with external storage.

Manual Backup

This is the least expensive method, but for it to be effective, you must be methodical. Set a schedule and stick with it – maybe it’s the end of each day, work period or when you hit a milestone in your project. Simply save a copy of your work to network storage, a flash drive, or an external hard drive. This is a great method to use when you want to make an archive of your work as it existed when you finished it.

Folder Synchronization (Cloud Storage)

You can use programs such as Microsoft OneDrive which through your Albright Office 365 account allows you 1TB of storage. These programs create a folder on your computer and then automatically publish changes made on your device. However, automatic synchronization can backfire if you accidentally delete files in one location and do not notice right away. Such services may not be able to restore files accidentally deleted or overwritten. For long term or archival storage, you should use another method.

Scheduled Backup Software



The built-in backup tools in modern versions of Windows and Mac OS are designed to automatically backup your data, usually to an attached external hard drive, on a schedule. These methods work with strategies that have you backing up user profiles, specific folders or your complete system. These programs make it easy to “set and forget” about backing up your files. However, like any automated process, they can stop working unexpectedly. Be sure to check your backups periodically to make sure the data you want to be saved is being backed up.

Use Time Machine to Back up or
 Restore Your Mac. https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201250

How to Back Up Your Computer
Automatically with Windows 10’s Built-in Tools. https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/17127/windows-back-up-restore

As always Client Services is here to assist you in any way we can. For more information about backing up your files, please feel free to stop by Client Services anytime.

You can also call us at extension 7676 or email us at ClientServices@albright.edu