3 easy ways to preserve your digital life on World Backup Day

You'd rather be prepared than be a victim of data loss

Take it from someone who had three hard disk drives (HDD) crashed on him, you don't want to be caught with your pants down when it comes to data backup.

Surely, the thought of losing your precious photos, songs and movies would send chills down your spine. But the truth is, people haven't wised up to this problem. Turns out, one in three people have suffered data loss, according to a global survey conducted by data backup specialist Acronis.

So really, that means someone in your familiy will most likely face data loss at some point in time. But would you want to pay US$500 to recover the lost data? No, because apparently, only 11% of the respondents of the Acronis survey said they would shell out that much to recover their precious memories.

Rather than lose everything at one go, we figure it's time you practice the habit of data backup, especially since 31 March is World Backup Day. It's not really that hard, we'll show you the easy, easier and easiest way to save your digital memories.

Easiest method: clone your drive

We're not asking you to splice some DNA and clone a living thing. Instead, do an exact replica of whatever's in your HDD to preserve everything. This is really the most straightforward method because it's just a matter of installing a cloning software, select the drive and have it mirror everything onto either another internal or external HDD.

How simple is it? If we say in a mere few clicks, you might be thinking we're yanking your chains. Trust us, it's that easy. For example, Apple's Time Machine, which is pre-installed with its OS X operating system, lets you do a direct clone of your system. You can even restore files at specific points in time.

Windows users also have a similar backup option, accessible when you click on Start > Update & security > Backup > Add a drive.

Then, there are backup software that does exactly everything you expect - saving your photos, music, movies and everything, right down to the system files, as an image file.

One such software is Acronis True Image 2016. It doesn't just create an image file of your system, Acronis True Image 2016 also has the flexibility of restoring your system at a specific point in time. Also, if you're sure you'll need only specific files, you can restore just those and leave the rest alone.

That said, we'd advise that you use this in tandem with a cloud backup service. That way, you get to have a second layer of backup, just in case the odds aren't in your favour and things go to hell while you're creating a mirror image of your system.

Easier method: use a cloud backup

You don't want to sort everything out, you say? We don't blame you for that. After all, we know the pain of constantly sorting your files, only to realise that you might have a duplicate somewhere in the system. That's wasted storage space and sometimes you just can't afford to lose even a few MB.

The key thing is to not care about whether that file you have is a duplicate. Rather, let the system sort that out for you. But more importantly, you don't want the hassle of manually transferring the files over. Instead, use cloud services such as Dropbox, Google Drive and iCloud.

The beauty with cloud backups is that you won't need to constantly check if the files are synced. As long as your devices are on a Wi-Fi network, it'll automatically sync with your preferred cloud backup.

More importantly, every file is synchronised across multiple devices. Chances are you probably own at least one smartphone, tablet and laptop, so that's three devices you'd like to sync your files with.

Easy method: save them on an external HDD

Fact is, it's really a matter of being diligent and transfering files to an external HDD every now and then. By that, we mean at least once a week. It sounds like a hassle but the trick is in making sure you've sorted your files properly.

Personally, we sort our files into neat folders, marking them either as images, movies, music, games, documents and others. After all, these are the essential types of files you're dealing with. Just make it a habit to immediately sort your files after you've either transferred or downloaded them onto your laptop or PC.