The IT Service Desk urges everyone to develop a daily or weekly routine for backing up your academic/mission critical documents. If you have created intellectual property that is stored electronically, we recommend that you create your own strategic backup plan.  Please do not rely on "server backups" as your sole personal or office document backup plan. If you think your computer hard drive won't crash because it's new, you're wrong. Hard drives, new and old, crash all the time costing customers lots of money. Backing up your data can be FREE if you're smart. 

Cloud storage is a safe new way of backing up your data. Listed are three of the many available cloud storage sites with free services, all of which have mobile apps. (All these services have paid versions with more storage options for pro users.)

Google Drive - FREE

Google Drive is Google’s online file storage and sharing service. Use it to save Google Docs, Gmail and other types of files online, or work within them in real time with other people. Work on a file from anywhere and updates are saved to the Drive and all your devices. If you have a personal account, they offer 15 GB, but your conncoll account comes with 30 GB of free storage.

Dropbox -FREE

Dropbox is a cloud-based file transfer and sharing service. If you setup a personal account, they provide up to 2 GB for free, but you can earn 500 MB in additional free storage space for every friend you refer to the service, up to 18 GB. (A similar, competing option is, offers free personal accounts up to 5 GB, including video or presentation files of up to 1 GB each.)

Sky Drive - FREE

For the heavy Microsoft Office user, the latest iteration of Microsoft's cloud-based file storage and sharing service is like Google Drive in the file synching options, but also incorporates email, calendar and contact manager. They offer up to 7 GB of file storage for free personal accounts.

Time Machine is a good (and free!) option for Mac users suitable for large system (OS and software included) backups before OS updates and in cases of suspected hardware failure. Instructions on how to use Time Machine are here.

Portable hard drives connect to your laptop/desktop with a cable. Sometimes as small as a notebook computer, PHDs have prices starting as low as $60 while dramatically improving safety and accessibility. From 60 GB to 1 TB, these cater to all bulk storage needs.

Internal Drives can be installed in your computer by a technician to boost storage and backup your data. If you purchase one, the IT Service Desk is happy to help you install it (Macintosh computers purchased June 2013 and later cannot be open if still under warranty-you must take it to an Apple warranty specialist).

Disk imaging is a great way to back up not only your files and folders, but also everything else on your computer. You will be able to restore everything, including your operating system, your software, files, etc. Simply connect the storage device with the disk image to your computer and restore the system. Mac and PC imaging instructions are available.

CDs, DVDs and flash drives are good options for trickle storage. Unlike disk imaging and Time Machine, you can select small quantities of data that you need to preserve. CDs and DVDs are good for storing media and files that you do not need to edit/change. Large flash drives and even SD cards (32/64 gb and above) are portable and safe options for backing data up.

Emailing files to yourself is a good last resort and makes a great short-term solution until you have the time to research other options (effective for documents, pictures and other smaller sized files).


Need help backing up your data?

Visit the IT Service Desk. We're here to help!