How to back up your data securely – IT tips for freelance translators

by OFER TIROSH 06/02/2018

When you work freelance, you lack the support of one of those lovely company IT departments that so many fulltime workers take for granted. Instead, it’s all on you. Whether you need a new piece of software or to make sure the client data on your laptop is safe from hackers, the onus is on you to find the right solution at the right price. This is true whether you work in professional translation, life coaching or graphic design – when you work freelance, the buck stops with you. 

If you’re feeling rather alone right now, don’t worry! Our translation company works with freelancers around the world and is here to provide handy hints and tips on all manner of freelance translation topics. With that in mind, we’ve put together the following guidance to ensure that you’re backing up your data securely. Doing so will ensure that you always have access to your data, even in the event of something catastrophic happening to your main computer.  

External hard drive backups 

One of the most cost-effective ways to back up your data is to invest in a portable hard drive. You can plug this into your computer once a week (or more often, as the mood takes you) and copy your files across. This will provide you with a quick and easy backup solution. 

There are a couple of points to note with manual backups. Firstly, make sure that the data on the hard drive is encrypted and password-protected. This will help to keep your data secure in the event of someone stealing the hard drive (the same applies to your laptop – always ensure it’s encrypted and protected with a password!). 

The other thing to think about with a manual backup solution is where to store the hard drive. The drawer next to your desk might be convenient, but it isn’t a good idea. If a fire or a thief was to take out your computer, you want the backup of your data to be far enough away that it survives intact. 

Cloud backups 

Modern cloud solutions have given freelancers new ways of sharing files and storing data. This includes the provision of cloud backup solutions. There are many such solutions available, so be sure to do your research and rely on trusted recommendations. 

Cloud backup solutions are inexpensive (some are even free, though these tend to come with limitations) and allow you to access your data from wherever you choose. As such, if your laptop is stolen, you can simply replace it and log on to your backup service as soon as you’re back online. Another advantage is that the space available to back up your files is effectively unlimited (though you will pay more to access more space). 

Testing times

External hard drives and cloud backup storage solutions are the best two options available to freelancer workers at the time of writing. However, the work doesn’t stop there. Once you’ve backed up your data, you need to ensure that you can access it, should the need arise. You can do this by testing the restore process. 

Whether you’ve opted for a physical storage device or an online solution, check regularly that you can access the copy of the data that you’ve backed up. Doing so only takes a few minutes, but it ensures that your backup solution is a viable one and that you could be up and running again in very little time, even in the face of a total hard drive failure on your main PC. 

Final thoughts

Backing up your data may seem like yet another unpaid time drain on your freelancing activities, but the small investment of your attention will quickly prove to be well worth it should something happy to make the original version of your data inaccessible. A current data backup, much like professional indemnity insurance, is one of those things that you hope never to need – but that’s worth its weight in gold should that need ever arise. 

Have you backed up your data recently? What’s your preferred solution? Leave a comment to let us know. 

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