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The importance of backing up your devices

The importance of backing up your devices
The importance of backing up your devices 03:10

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- When was the last time you backed up your computer or your phone? It's one of those things you may tend to forget about until you have a problem.

KDKA's John Shumway sought out an expert.

The rules are the same for both types of device, but usually phones are backed up to the computer or the cloud -- but how often? Probably more often than you think.

The importance of computers and phones to our everyday existence almost rivals that of water. 

Dr. Mohamed Farag at Carnegie Mellon University's Information Networking says that your hard drive isn't invincible and that it's always important to keep a backup plan. 

If your computer is connected online, Dr. Farag says that viruses have evolved and that the importance of backing up is much more important than how it was even five years ago. 

There are two basic ways to back up your computer.

"Some people keep their own backup physical drives, like an external hard disc," Dr. Farag said. "You can just go to the store and buy those, connect them to your laptop and have a backup of your data on them."

The other option is to use a cloud-based server like Google Drive, Dropbox, or Microsoft. They will give you the option to keep data on the cloud and access them from anywhere you want in the world.

If you choose to use a physical hard drive, Dr. Farag suggests having one hard drive that contains sensitive data and another for everything else, like pictures. 

When it comes to how often, Dr. Farag says it's good to do it once per week. However, if you've done a lot of work on any specific day and it's critical to save, run a backup at the end of that day to be safe.

If you're using cloud-based storage, you can set it up to backup daily.

Dr. Farag says that research indicates that cloud storage is more secure than using your local machine, and part of the reasoning is that cloud servers are constantly updating their security. 

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