How to Back Up Your Computer

Why Should You Back Up Your Files?

isit_computer_backupRegularly backing up your computer is a crucial step in ensuring that your information is insured against damage or loss. While anti-virus software can protect you from viruses and other malware, accidents and physical disasters may also affect your files in unforeseen ways. Data may become corrupted or be deleted accidentally. Computers may fail due to hardware issues, system failure, or physical disasters, including theft and power surges.

All devices containing important information should be regularly backed up to UBC network drives and periodically maintained to ensure the backups are successful. If you make frequent and significant changes to your data, you should increase the number of backups.

Backup Options

While UBC does not offer an official backup service for faculty and staff, there are many straightforward alternatives for preserving your data. Placing your work files on the UBC network via Home Drive ensures that your personal data stays safe, even if something happens to your computer. Workspace is another service offered by UBC IT that allows you to share files with other users. External hard drives are a simple way to store your information in a physical, portable drive, while commercial options offer reliable, intuitive services and automatic backups.

Below are some recommendations for common backup options. Please note that some services violate UBC and provincial policies if used to store Personally Identifiable Information.

 

Home Drive Storage Service

  • Why: You want to back up your files onto the UBC network, but you do not need to share them with others.
  • Features: Home Drive is a private file storage service that is meant specifically for personal use. This service works just like a USB, except your files will be backed up once they have been copy and pasted into the drive.
  • Pricing: Free for UBC employees for up to 20GB. Paid options for additional space.
  • How to Use: Visit UBC IT to see if the Home Drive Storage Service is right for you. To set up Home Drive access on multiple computers, message us through the contact form.

Pros

Files are stored in the UBC servers, so you do not have to hold on to them physically. If you lose or damage your computer, your data stays safe.

Home Drive can be used just like a USB, except files are automatically backed up to the UBC network and can be accessed anywhere with an Internet connection. No physical drive is needed.

Cons

Files must be copied and transferred individually into the drive in order to be backed up.

Home Drive is only accessible when your computer is connected to myVPN.


AdminFiles

  • Why: You want to back up your files onto the UBC network, and you need to share them with others in your department or unit.
  • Features: AdminFiles provides unlimited storage space for Arts departments, schools, programs, units, and other special projects by request. This service works just like a USB, except your files will be backed up once they have been copy and pasted into the drive.
  • Pricing: Free with unlimited disk space.
  • How to Use: Visit Arts ISIT to see if AdminFiles is right for you. To get started, follow the instructions on the page.

Pros

Files are stored in the UBC servers, so you do not have to hold on to them physically. If you lose or damage your computer, your data stays safe.

AdminFiles immediately shares your files with your entire team, so collaboration is simple and efficient.

Cons

Files can only be shared within your department.

Files must be copy and pasted manually to be backed up.

AdminFiles is only accessible when your computer is connected to myVPN.


Workspace

  • Why: You want to back up your files to the UBC cloud, and you need customize how other people access them.
  • Features: Workspace functions just like Dropbox and synchronizes one folder on your computer. Any files and folders within this folder will be automatically uploaded to the cloud, with customizable access for your team. Also accessible through an online portal.
  • Pricing: Free for UBC employees for up to 20GB. Paid options for additional space.
  • How to Use: Visit UBC IT to see if Workspace is right for you. To get started, follow this how-to guide from UBC IT or message us through the contact form for support.

Pros

Files are stored in the UBC servers, so you do not have to hold on to them physically. If you lose or damage your computer, your data stays safe.

You do not need to connect to myVPN in order to access your files.

Files can be shared with other UBC staff, faculty, and/or guests who are not a part of UBC. Access permissions are customizable to read-only, edit and modify, or full admin access.

Files are accessible anywhere with Internet, including computers, smartphones, and tablets.

Cons

None.

Some Arts faculty use third-party cloud backup services. These services are generally not compliant with UBC Information Security Policy #104, because the data is transmitted outside of Canada. You cannot use these services to back up any Personally Identifiable Information, such as student records.

Backup Services

  • Popular Options: BackblazeCarboniteCrashPlan, Mozy
  • Features: Automatic and continuous. Once the service has been set up, you don’t have to worry about maintaining it.
  • Pricing: Different monthly fees depending on the company.
  • How to Use: Visit the websites and see which services are right for you.

Pros

Backup is automated and cloud-based, so you’ll never lose your data.

Your files are backed up in another physical location, so in the event of theft or a natural disaster, your files stay safe.

Cons

US-based and violates UBC policies. You cannot use them if you are storing any Personally Identifiable Information such as student names, email address, etc. See A Quick Overview of UBC Security Policies for more information on what constitutes Personally Identifiable Information.


Filesharing Services

  • Popular Options: Dropbox, Box, OneDrive, Google Drive
  • Features: These are not backup solutions, but are popular file sharing solutions.
  • Pricing: Different monthly fees depending on the company.
  • How to Use: Visit the websites and see which services are right for you.

Pros

These programs are intuitive and easy to use, with extensive cross-platform integration. Files can be quickly uploaded and accessed anywhere with an Internet connection.

Your files are backed up in another physical location, so in the event of theft or a natural disaster, your files stay safe.

Cons

US-based and violates UBC policies. You cannot use them if you are storing any Personally Identifiable Information such as student names, email address, etc. See A Quick Overview of UBC Security Policies for more information on what constitutes Personally Identifiable Information.

If you share a file or folder with someone, they may be able to modify your content and delete your files.

External Drives

  • Why: You want to back up your files, but you would rather hold on to the backup yourself and not store them on a network.
  • Pricing: One time fee (when buying the hard drive).
  • How to Use: Message us through the contact form, and we’ll help you set up the external hard drive and teach you how to use it.

Pros

External hard drives are portable and expandable. Drive capacity and transfer speed are constantly being increased.

Files will be accessible even without Internet.

External drives offer the most affordable option for their capacity, with newer and better options constantly being released.

Cons

Physical drives can be stolen, lost, or damaged.


On Windows

  • Features: Files must be copy and pasted manually in order to be backed up. Some hard drive vendors provide third-party software for automatic back up, which may or may not be reliable.
  • How to Use: Message us through the contact form, and we’ll help you set up the external hard drive and teach you how to use it.

On Mac (Time Machine)

  • Features: Back up is automated and continuous. Once the service has been set up, you don’t have to worry about maintaining it.
  • How to Use: You can get started immediately by following the how-to guide from Apple.