All the Hardware You Need for Your Ultimate Backup Plan

Backing up is so easy as to be obvious...or so you’d think! The truth is, most people can’t be bothered to do it until they lose all their chat logs and pictures to a spilled glass of water or flash flood. So expect the unexpected. You know you could use the peace of mind. With a little help from SanDisk, let’s walk you through a few ways to back up your life, from the smallest up to the most advanced.

On the Go

Let’s start small. Secure Digital memory cards — that includes SD, miniSD, and microSD — are a good place to start because they’re cheap, reliable, and extremely versatile. Crucially, an SD card’s strength is in mobile, meaning you can take one wherever you go — whether it’s the big city or the Serengeti.

Armed with a few, you can back up just about whatever you want in your on-the-go digital lifestyle, all taken from your point-and-shoot, SLR, smartphone, or tablet. They’re an excellent solution for storing photos, contacts, and even apps, can increase the performance of your mobile devices, and can interface with your home computer with relative ease. SanDisk SD cards in particular offer increased performance and speed when it comes to handling digital media and your favorite apps, guaranteeing you smoother media playback. This is the kind of backup you want on you at all times.

Trump Card

Next up: USB drives. The average thumb drive can get lost in end tables and desks with surprising ease. That doesn't have to be a bad thing. Having a backup that you can forget about until you absolutely need it gives you the kind of trump card that can save you in a jam. More than holding onto your design school portfolio, your tried-and-true flash drive is the perfect for saving your computer in a pinch, and SanDisk has a whole slew of drives with different capacities, designs, and performances to have you covered.

All you only need is a 4GB one to serve as a recovery disk, just in case your computer won’t boot or starts spewing strange errors at you. Loading something like Trinity Rescue Kit or even Ubuntu onto a thumb drive can boot you into a working interface that’ll allow you to move some of your most mission critical files off your foundering computer. Trust me: load a restore disk onto any one of SanDisk's drives, throw it in your desk, and pull it out precisely when you need. You will not regret it.

Major League Storage

When considering a big-boy storage method for your backup needs, it usually comes down to a choice between a traditional mechanical hard disk drive and a quickly-becoming-commonplace solid-state drive. Both have their advantages and disadvantages, so it would behoove you, young reader, to know what to buy for your major storage needs.

Hard drives are the mature (if aged) standard, and these days it’s easy to pick up a 2TB drive for a under a hundred bucks. However, HDDs can suffer from fragmentation, meaning they will slow down over time. Solid-state drives, on the other hand, are the newer, sleeker storage option. They’re faster and more durable, but what they gain in performance they lose in the pricing department. The money you’d spend on that 2TB drive would get you just about 120 gigs of space. Ouch.

Pro-tip: go for both. A solid state drive is great for primary storage; anyone with an ultrabook will tell you that the gains in speed and performance are incredible. But buy a traditional hard drive for your backups. For now.

The Networked Route

While we’re on the subject, do you happen to have a few high-capacity drives lying around already? Good. You could be using them to make one super-powered backup drive to round out your entire setup. You’re welcome.

A NAS, or network-attached storage, is a networked drive, but it’s living on your network can be a big deal. That means it can interface with any computer on said network, and can serve as a backup for everyone connected to it. That’s you, your boyfriend or girlfriend, and your globe-trotting roommate who needs a place to store her million pictures of the fairy chimneys in Cappadocia.

Buying a NAS is simple enough depending on your needs, but you can turn any old computer into a NAS with minimal effort and some open source software like FreeNAS. This option also gives you the ability to stream files to your media devices. That means all those photos and videos you’ve been saving won’t just be shunted away from your everyday computing life. You can still view them on your computer and even your TV. If you’re looking for a backup that does damn near it all, this is your best bet.

Backing up isn’t hard. And, as you’ll find, there are so many ways you can do it, no matter where you are and what you do. So while you’re looking for the devices for your personal backup plan, be sure to check out SanDisk’s SD card offerings right here. You’re gonna need them.