Designing the Perfect Backup Plan

If you are a web or graphics designer, you have a lot of digital assets with which you need to keep up. Your relationship to those assets defines how you relate to your computer. You don’t just use an asset once and then throw it away. You need to keep it around for editing and reuse. Even if you only end up using it once, you might be working on it for a long time before completion. All of this is to say that if you are a web or graphics designer, you’re going to need to design the perfect backup plan to go along with your work.

Here are some tips to help you make it happen:

Make It Secure Before Backing It Up

One of the worst things you can do is backup virus-infected files. Sharing those files means spreading the virus. When your computer gets hosed, which is inevitable, you will restore from a trusted backup, reinfecting yourself all over again. The solution is to secure it before you back it up. Slashdot reports:

Once you have enemy code running on your system, you’re toast. A virus could alter Microsoft Word so that opening any Word document at all would erase every file on your hard drive, making every single Word document in existence a deadly threat — to you, and to you alone. But this isn’t a new virus threat of any sort. It isn’t a breakthrough. It’s a consequence of being infected, not a new method of being infected.

Note that the same thing could happen with graphics files as well as Word documents. Once you have scanned your local files, you will need a solution that safeguards your network and your social network accounts.

There are a number of Internet Security software packages to protect your system both offline and online. Choose the package from the company protecting the platform that is most relevant to your situation. But don’t treat it like a problem that is just going to take care of itself. You have to proactively secure your offline and online assets before backing them up.

Use the Built-in Backup Systems

Are you on team Mac or team PC? Don’t bother answering. It doesn’t matter. Either way, you already have a backup solution built into your computer of choice. It is just a matter of setting it up and using it.

Backup and Restore has been a part of Windows for some time. Many people do not even know it is there. A lot of third-party backup solutions are sold to people who would be well served by what came installed on their system. The Mac is home to Time Machine. It is backup software for the Mac. It requires an external drive.

Backing up to the same drive is dangerous. If something happens to your drive, you lose your backup along with it. Whether on a PC or Mac, it is best to backup to an external hard drive.

Off-Site Backup

Everyone always uses the example of your house burning down as a way of scaring you into using some type of off-site backup scheme, of which there are many. But I think positive motivation works even better.

If you are a designer, there is a chance that you work on more than one machine. One might even be a mobile. You might find yourself with an idea, and only an iPad to make it happen. There is a version of PhotoShop that works on the iPad. You can retrieve your files and get back to work.

If you have to restore your drive on your portable, you can get important files back while you are out and about with an online backup. I know of one offering that is just $60 a year. Oh, and it is also useful if your house burns down and takes your other backups with it. Just saying.

Your files are important. Scan them for viruses, secure them, then back them up by any means available. Any backup is perfect when compared to no backup at all.