By Jeané Blunt and Robert Smith. Today, March 31, is World Backup Day. It serves as a reminder to backup (or create a second copy of) all important files.
At one time of another, we’ve all experienced data loss—whether a computer crashed while writing a paper, a phone fell in the pool, or a USB drive was misplaced. Data loss can be devastating, but it’s also completely avoidable.
Backup Personal Files
Important personal files that should be backed up include work documents, tax documents, family photos and videos, emails, and anything else of value.
It’s always a good idea to have backup that is safe from physical loss (like fire, theft, accidents) and human causes (like errors, ransomware, or sabotage). Keeping a drive offsite and separate (not accessible from your main device) is part of a good backup plan. Consider the 3-2-1 method:
- 3 copies of your data
- 2 different media
- 1 offsite set of backup data
Backup Work Files
The UC Electronic Information Security Policy, IS-3, devotes a subsection to the topic of backups. There are three important points to consider:
- Do you have a backup?
- Does the backup actually work (can you restore it to get the data back)?
- Is it physically and electronically secure?
Work files kept in approved storage locations may get regularly backed up by the IT team—make sure you know how your files are being backed up. Remember that backup records are still subject to Public Records Act requests and legal holds.
Remember also that for work files, once the records are destroyed per the UC Records Retention Schedule, you need to destroy the backup copies as well. This may be as simple as letting the next backup refresh take place. Again, find out how often your IT teams runs backups of the storage location.
This past year has brought many surprises, don’t let data loss be one of them. Backup your files today!
Check out UC Santa Barbara’s video about World Backup Day.
Robert Smith is systemwide IT policy director at the University of California Office of the President.
Jeané Blunt is IT communications and UC FCC licensing coordinator at UC Office of the President.