Berlin “Data is gone faster than you think. On the one hand, the hard drive can be damaged, but the danger from malware is much greater, “says Lutz Labs from the “c’t” trade magazine. In addition, there is the risk of loss or theft, especially with notebooks. If your data is dear and dear to you – and it should be to everyone – you have only one chance: to protect it by securing it. “There are various ways to secure your data, but the most important thing by far is that you do it at all,” says Thomas Bayer from the IT service provider Adesso. There are many possibilities for this. Backup physically separated from the computer Bayer advises to always observe a basic rule in any case: “The storage medium should always be physically separated from the computer after the backup, because otherwise the door and gate are open for malware there.” The easiest way to back up data is to store it on an external hard drive. “This is associated with manageable costs, it is fast and such a hard drive can also be stored well in a safe place,” says Sven Schulz from Computer Bild. A 2.5-inch hard drive with, for example, 5 terabytes of data volume costs around 100 euros and can be easily docked via a USB port. Not even an extra power connection is required here. However, a distinction must be made with the type of hard disk: The classic hard disk with magnetic storage disks (HDD) is currently the best variant, says Lutz Labs. It was a tried and tested technique and the magnetic memories held the data for a very long time. HDD beats SSD when backing up “A hard drive with memory chips (SSD) is faster and more robust, but so far there has been even less experience with the durability of the data,” explains Labs. However, a classic hard drive should never be stored near strong magnets. The other option is the data backup in the network on Internet servers (cloud). “If you don’t want to back up so much data, the cloud is also an option for you. However, the backup via the Internet connection usually takes longer and there is always a residual risk if data is not lost,”says Sven Schulz. If you decide to use a cloud, you should also take a close look at which server location and how the respective provider secures the data. In case of doubt, you should encrypt your data yourself before uploading. USB sticks are not an option According to Lutz Labs, backing up to USB sticks is not an option for data backup. “A USB stick is good for temporarily backing up a file, but not a complete backup,” explains the expert. “The memory in USB sticks is often inferior, so the data here would not really be permanently well secured.” There are also differences in the type and scope of a data backup. “The simplest and fastest option is to simply copy over entire folders. This is the way to go if the backup is carried out without a special program,” explains Thomas Bayer. If you use a pre-installed program for data backup or buy a corresponding software, on the other hand, you often have the choice between different backup options. Backup, image or recovery “During a backup, all data of the computer is backed up, i.e. images, text documents and so on. In the case of an image, the programs are also backed up. And the user has the opportunity to restore the computer from the appropriate disk. This is often referred to as a recovery solution,” explains Labs. Another option is archiving, in which data is moved to another location for long-term storage. These are then also completed data or files that are no longer to be changed. Sven Schulz sees the solution that Windows operating systems inherently bring as a good entry opportunity with weaknesses. “The big disadvantage of Windows data backup is that the tool has to be set up relatively cumbersome.” The data backup of macOS is much more uncomplicated. For Windows, however, there are also numerous free backup programs that offer more functions and convenience than Microsoft’s home solution, such as the open source tool Duplicati. How often and how often? The question of the frequency of a data backup cannot be answered in a general way. However, if you use your computer frequently, you should back up the data weekly, or even more often. And the question of whether a fuse is enough is also relevant. Lutz Labs generally recommends three copies according to the backup rule 3-2-1: 3 copies on 2 data carriers, 1 of which is out of the house, for example in a bank safe deposit box or at the workplace or with relatives. While the first copy can be on the machine, copies two and three are created on external USB drives. If you are unsure how often you should back up your data, are forgetful, or if you simply want to trick the convenient, inner bastard, Bayer recommends setting an automatic backup that many programs offer: “You can still back up more often, but a preset routine does not forget the backup in any case and reminds the user even if the computer was not turned on at the preset time.” NAS backup is not for everyone Another option for data backup is a network drive (NAS), which can be connected to the router, for example. However, Sven Schulz of the “Computer Bild” advises normal and occasional users against the solution. “Such a network drive has to be set up a little more elaborately and should also be a whole corner more expensive than a normal external hard drive with around 300 to 400 euros in the purchase.” In addition, NAS systems are at risk of malware spreading to other devices over the network.