They aren’t available in capacities as large as desktop hard drives, they’re slower, and they’re more expensive, but portable drives are much smaller and don’t require a power cord, so you can use one with your laptop wherever you are.If you have multiple computers to back up, you can use a network-attached storage device, which connects to your router, instead of backing up to an external drive.A NAS is more powerful and flexible, but more complicated to set up, and most people don’t need it unless they have multiple computers in the house.(You can also use one to stream media, set up a private server, and more, but we’re focusing only on backups for this guide.) The easiest way to protect your data in case of robbery or disaster is to complement your local backup with an online backup service.Most people are best served by an external hard drive and a cloud backup service subscription, coupled with their operating system’s free, built-in tools.If you travel often, don’t need to store as much data, or use your laptop in multiple locations, get a portable hard drive instead.Merely moving your important files to a hard drive or a flash drive does not constitute making a backup.
With this system, you’re highly unlikely to lose all your data, even if your laptop gets stolen, your hard drive crashes, your house burns down, or the Internet as we know it dies.
But if you still don’t trust a cloud backup service, your options for a 3-2-1 backup are much more limited.
You still need to have one backup at home and another off-site.
But they aren’t cost-effective for backing up your entire computer—Google charges per month for 1TB and Dropbox charges .25 for 1 TB, which is pricier than Backblaze’s unlimited per month.
And there’s usually no private encryption key, so we don’t suggest using cloud syncing services for anything private, especially personal documents like tax returns.