So, you’ve prepared your child for college, which includes buying him a decent laptop. That’s where he’ll store all his homework, access his assignments and turn in his papers. Should be good to go, right?
Wrong. Imagine this: Your child just finished writing this really great paper and it’s due in two hours. Suddenly, the computer crashes. Maybe it’s a virus. Maybe it was because of the soda he spilled on it last night. The ‘why’ doesn’t matter right now – all that matters is that a full semester’s work was lost in a few seconds.
What’s your kid going to do?
1. Borrow another computer from a friend or the school to…
2. Access his files from the external hard drive in his room or from his cloud backup service, and…
3. Send his paper on time.
If you don’t understand anything in Step 2, read on:
External Hard Drive
This is an external storage device separate from your computer. It’s portable – from the size of a wallet to a small box. You plug it into the computer with a USB cable.
Pros: You don’t need the internet to access your files. It’s portable and you can plug it into any other computer as needed. You pay one-time for the device and not a service.
Cons: It can be lost, stolen or damaged and you need to remember to back up your files.
Cloud Backup Service
In simple terms, this is a service that stores a copy of your files on the internet. It backs up continuously and automatically as long as there’s an active internet connection.
Pros: Backs up for you and you can access your files anywhere on any computer.
Cons: Need to keep paying for the service to access your files. Must have a functional internet connection to access files.
Now that you know the different types, why not both?
That’s cheap security considering you’ll be covered for both hardware and internet related disasters.
This all sounds scary, but what are the chances?
Using a computer for school or work opens you up to some major security risks that I think need to be addressed.
1. The actual item can be lost or stolen. (You should have a locate app installed to increase your chances of finding what’s been lost.)
2. Your computer can be infected by a virus or hacked.
3. It can be damaged by liquids, a power outage, or a simple accident.
4. User error. This is where you accidentally delete or overwrite your file.
With so many security issues, the chances of something happening are pretty big. Dorm rooms are crowded work/living spaces occupied by distracted teens. Things happen… a lot.
And, it’s happened to me – a grown up with my own spacious home. Back in June, I crashed my computer. I was saved by backups and the pros to get me up and running again – but it took at least a week. I can’t thank them enough. Now, not only do I have an external hard drive and cloud back up, I have added an automatic backup systems to be double safe.