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Where Should You Store Your Home Backup?

When it comes to data backup, there’s probably no such thing as too much. If there’s data you don’t want to lose, you need to back it up. And just the one backup isn’t any good. It’s all about redundancy; ensuring that you have multiple copies of your data, across multiple formats, across multiple locations. For some people, this might be considered overkill, but it’s the only way to have a secure backup plan.

Take this scenario, for example. You have your computer that stores your data. You have an external drive attached to it which you backup to. That external drive is encrypted, so your backup is safe from any cybercrime. But what would happen if a fire breaks out in that room? Or any other natural disaster? Chances are, both the source (the computer) and the backup (the hard drive) are going to perish. And then your backup has proved useless, for you have none of your data left.

That might sound extreme, but everyone thinks data loss won’t happen to them. Until it does. The best backup plan follows the 3-2-1 rule. That’s three copies of your data on two different formats, with one of those off-site. The price of hard disk drives continues to drop, so it’s not expensive to buy those for backup. It’s free to encrypt your data. And offsite storage doesn’t have to be a pain either – you could even use cloud storage, though be sure to properly investigate the service you’ve chosen and its security measures.

When it comes to your home backup, the question arises on where you should store this backup. One option you could go for is a safe. A device used to store your valuables – and wouldn’t you consider your data valuable? The thing about safes is that some of them will protect the contents against fire and water damage, which make them great for storing drives.

Be wary here, though. Many safes that pose themselves as fireproof are actually saying that they’ll protect the contents up to a certain temperature for a certain amount of time. There’s no set standard on how much heat a drive should be able to withstand, though roughly speaking they’ll last at 150 degrees Fahrenheit, though not above 300.

The Wirecutter put this to the test. Using a safe that was rated to protect against a 350°F internal temperature, a flash drive and DVD were still readable after half an hour of 1300°F heat, after which the fire was put out with water. Of course, this is just a test. The real world isn’t as predictable, and you can’t know that the heat will top after a certain amount of time or rise to a greater temperature. You also can’t be certain that your safe won’t be broken into, then the drive will be stolen anyway.

If this sounds all doom, don’t worry. It’s always best to be overly cautious when it comes to data backup. Encrypt your data, store multiple copies, and have it in multiple formats. If something goes wrong, you’re prepared.


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