How to Back Up and Encrypt your Files
Believe it or not, you accumulate a ton of data in the form of documents, chats, emails, videos, pictures, and recordings. You can prevent your data from falling in the wrong hands, but it takes initiative and consistency to ensure your data remains secure.
To prevent data loss, you will need to back up all your important files, preferably making multiple copies in different locations that you have complete control of. However, if you are not sure how to go about making backups and secure your files, then you are in the right place. Here, you will learn everything you need to know in regards to backing up and encrypting your files.
Determining the Right Data to Back Up
Before you go about backing up all your data, you will need to determine what data demands top priority.
Some data you can do without, so there is no point in backing up everything. If you are not sure how to tell which data is important, and which is not, then take the following into consideration:
Work and Personal Data
If your devices are lost or damaged, you could lose all your data. For this reason, it is important you regularly back up your data on all your devices. You can back up data from said devices on USB sticks, external SSDs, external HDDs, or even in cloud storage.
Even though your work files may be automatically backed up, it is still your responsibility to make sure everything is in order. Yes, your work data is not your own and belongs to your employer, but you will need to follow company policy when it comes to handling backups.
Since people use messaging apps to communicate with each other, it is important you back up your chat history as well. While messaging apps like Telegram automatically back up your chat history for you, apps like Viber and WhatsApp give you some choice in how and when your backups are made.
Your chats and personal pictures on Twitter and Facebook may be available at the moment, but these social media platforms could easily terminate your account without notice. You may even be restricted as to how you can access your account.
Fortunately, platforms like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook allows users to download their past posts and uploads. This can also come in extremely handy if you do not wish to keep a social media account henceforth, but want all the data you have on them.
Where to Back Up your Private and Confidential Data?
Now that you know what data you need to back up, you will need to find the perfect place to store them. The location and medium make all the difference in the world, which is why you will need to think twice about the platform you opt for.
Some common types of external storage are HDDs, SSDs, and USB sticks. The type of external storage you opt for depends on the amount of data you are dealing with and how often backups will be made.
- SSDs are great for making quick backups, but they are not suitable for a large amount of data
- HDDs are preferable if you have large quantities of data, although they can be slower
- USB sticks are cheap and can be used if data backups are not made regularly
It can be difficult to find a secure place to keep your external storage safe and sound. It does not help that external storage devices can be stolen or fail. If your data needs to be accessed by multiple users, external storage devices can prove to be quite the hassle. To solve these problems, you will find cloud storage to be a worthy option.
Cloud storage providers have made it incredibly simple for users to make backups and share them with others while keeping them synced across multiple devices. As amazing as this sounds, cloud storage does have privacy concerns:
- The cloud service provider will have access to your data
- Your account can be looked up
- Your data can be inspected and forwarded to third parties
Securing your cloud storage account isn’t exactly simple. If you opted for a reliable service provider, you may have various options at your disposal, like 2FA (two-factor authentication). Some may offer software to sync your data, but such software has its own risks. The least you can do is have a complex password for your account.
Running and maintaining a personal server requires extensive expertise and hardware requirements, but you will get exactly what you want. For instance, you can choose between an SSD or HDD, or even magnetic tapes for that matter.
Out of all the storage options, magnetic tapes are by far the cheapest option, but there are additional costs attached to retrieving each backup.
Securing your Data – Encryption Protocols
Regardless of where your data is stored, it is a good idea to encrypt them. Encryption offers an additional layer of security for your data. When you encrypt your data, it does not matter where you store your data. Even if you choose a popular cloud service provider, you will not have to worry about your data being accessed or misused.
If you are using a USB stick, HDD, or HDD, then full-disk encryption will be the right option for you. You can use programs to fully encrypt your external storage. When you try accessing them you will need to enter an encryption key to unlock them. You can even update your files in a virtual container – a singular encrypted file holding all your data.
Creating a virtual container is also feasible while storing your data on the cloud, and it works best if the content in the container remains the same. If any changes are made, the entire backup will need to be uploaded again. Therefore, if you are making backups frequently, you should encrypt each file individually.
PGP encryption, also known as Pretty Good Privacy, can be used to encrypt files separately. You can use PGP encryption to encrypt files one at a time, or all at once. The encrypted files can then be signed to allow yourself and others to authenticate them.
To benefit from PGP encryption, you will need to use software to generate a private-public keypair for yourself, after which you can encrypt each file before backing them up. To decrypt your files, the private key will be required.
PGP encryption is best suited for individuals that want to encrypt data, and yet sync them across devices.
Encrypted Cloud Storage
It is worth noting there are some cloud service providers that guarantee data encryption on your computer, after which backups are made on their servers. On paper, this may seem great, but there is no way for you to verify whether these claims are true or not. Due to this, it would be a good idea if you took care of the encryption process on your own.
Alternatives to Backups and Encryption: Use a VPN
Securing all of your data is easier said than done. Based on the options provided above, you will have to analyze and determine the right course of action based on your own needs and requirements. If you do not want to go through any hassle whatsoever, then you will be pleased to know you can actually secure your data using a VPN.
A VPN will allow you to secure your online activities, all the while giving you unrestricted access to the internet. You will also benefit from anonymity, meaning you will be off the grid whenever you connect to a VPN server. Remember, you will only benefit from these offerings if you choose a reliable VPN, like Ivacy VPN.
To stay safe, secure, and anonymous online, be sure to use Ivacy VPN at all times!