What’s In Your House?
Accidental file deletion, or failure of a hard drive can be easily protected against by making a local backup of all your information. “Local” for the purposes of this post means that the backup copy is located in the same physical premises as the master copy, probably your home or small business, and on your local / home network. I’m considering the requirement for this to be a separate physical device, be it an external hard drive or ideally on another computer.
For the moment forget about your cell phones, tablets, etc. that generate digital media. We’ll deal with those in a later post.
There are a number of different configurations that you might have in your home network:
- The simplest of all: one computer in the house. This is easy. All you need to do is ensure your digital media is on the computer and stored in a consistent couple of folders. An external hard drive will be your local backup.
- Two or more computers in the house, no central storage.
- Doesn’t matter how many computers in the house, you use a centralized storage device already.
One simple solution
For one through to many computers in your house, the best way to create a local backup is to use a single external hard drive that is available to all computers. (It will also be available to all your mobile devices.)
If you are using centralized storage already, fantastic! If you are like me, nothing gets saved to the computers EVER, everything gets saved to storage. This approach simplifies your local backup since all you’re doing is backing up the NAS device. However if you save many things to your computers AND to your central storage, your backups will need more configuration but the solution is the same.
The simplest solution is to have your external hard drive connected to your router itself, which is of course always on. Newer routers often come with USB ports that can be used for this purpose. It is worth the investment to buy a new router to make the backup solution work really well if your current router doesn’t have USB.
This post will not cover which routers are good ones to use. There is a lot of great information out there that can help you. Over the years I have moved up from the ASUS RT-N66U to an ASUS RT-AC1900 which boasts much more powerful processor and stronger WIFI. I have used these routers now for a decade and have had only one bad experience which ASUS fixed on their dime. I’d still strongly recommend them.