Think you’re doing enough to protect your data? It’s World Backup Day on 31 March, when the importance of backing up personal and business data will be in the spotlight.

If you consider how much you keep in digital form, from photos and videos to emails and documents, the implications of losing that data are pretty severe.

For any organisation, the financial, legal and time-related costs of losing data are obvious, but keeping all data backed up safely and securely matters more than ever. The GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) which arrives in May, will make a data breach even more costly for organisations who haven’t taken the right steps with personal data in their possession.

Data loss can happen to the best of us. Pixar accidentally lost nearly 90% of the animated film Toy Story 2 to an errant computer command. If an employee had not kept a copy of the film on her laptop for working on from home, the content would have been lost forever. And the whole accident would have been avoidable in the first place if they had made a proper backup plan that included regularly testing the data restores.

For a small or medium sized business, a data disaster can be ruinous. World Backup Day organisers mention a bookmark sharing site called Mag.nolia that few of us have heard of, because it suffered a catastrophic data disaster and had to shut down when it lost both their primary and backup data stores.

There are a range of ways to back up data, but many IT experts recommend that we choose two methods and use them concurrently. So, if one fails, you still have the other to fall back on. Even if you store everything in the cloud, for example, having another back up that you can access in a worst-case scenario will give much greater peace of mind.

Here are four of the data backup products that give users a range of ways to securely hold and safeguard data:

1. External hard drives

External and portable hard drives connect to one computer at a time. They are usually wired devices, although some have wireless capabilities. With the right software running, users can schedule backups to keep data updated on each hard drive.

An SSD drive (solid state drive) holds data on memory chips, which means it is less prone to physical shocks, produces less noise and takes less time to access data. As there are no moving parts inside an SSD drive, it is very resilient and will continue to be fully functional even after being dropped.

Verbatim and Freecom branded hard drives come with free Nero BackItUp and Burn Essential software which allows you to create your own backup from your PC or laptop hard drive to your portable drive.

The WD My Passport Portable Hard Drive is ready to use out of the box, so you can start transferring files and backing up right away. With WD Backup software included, this allows auto-backup. Featuring a high-speed USB 3.0 interface, as well as compatibility with USB 2.0, this portable hard drive features built in 256-bit AES encryption for extra security.

2. USB flash drives

USB flash drives are like tiny solid-state drives that can be carried in bags or pockets. They plug into USB ports on computers and other devices such as PS3, Xbox and DVD players.

If data to be stored on a flash drive is sensitive or confidential, you should always use an encrypted device that is also GDPR compliant. Secure, encrypted USB drives ensure that mobile data is transported securely and confidently and reduce the risk of data loss through theft or damage.

Encryption of USB drives can be performed in two different ways, on either the hardware or software. One type of encryption is 256-bit AES encryption, which can either be software or hardware encrypted.

For military-standard data protection, look for USB flash drives that are FIPS (Federal Information Processing Standards) approved. This is the highest level of security and is usually required by most public sector bodies.

The Safexs Guardian USB 2.0 Flash Drive is a low cost and secure USB flash drive built with a capless design. It comes pre-loaded with AES256-bit encryption software allowing you to easily encrypt sensitive data and files for transferring from PC, Mac and Linux based computers with ease. It also features a timer lock to prevent access to files after a period of inactivity and can be attached directly attached to keys or a lanyard.

With 256-bit hardware encryption, the Integral Courier Encrypted USB Flash Drive is a secure option for storing confidential information. It lets you protect your files behind a strong password with no additional software installation. If an intruder tries to guess your password, it automatically erases all data after 6 failed access attempts, for the ultimate in data protection.

3. Data cartridges

Ideal for large long-term storage such as film production, data cartridges offer an easy and secure way to store sensitive information and back up vital files. You need a compatible LTO tape drive to use these tapes.

Hewlett Packard Ultrium Cartridges enable you to make swift data transfers without compromising security or speed. Re-writeable, so they can be erased and re-used many times, these 6.5TB capacity data cartridges allow for one million passes, offer a storage life of 30 years and superior safety mechanisms to prevent data loss.

4. Optical discs

Optical discs, such as CD-R, DVD-R, Blu Ray and M-Disc, offer permanent, low-cost, long-term storage for digital content that you cannot afford to lose.

These discs are usually compatible with a wide range of devices, so can be useful for wide distribution of photos, music or other data. Because many can only be written to once and have superior resistance to deterioration, they’re ideal for secure, unalterable archive storage. Recordable (R) discs enable users to write once and read repeatedly. RW means a disc is rewritable and will enable you to record and rewrite data multiple times.

CD-Rs from Verbatim offer a 52x write speed, enabling users to write a full CD in just 90 seconds, with a colourful label surface for adding a title with marker pen. These secure, highly compatible discs can last for up to 100 years.

The M-Disc is a format designed to last centuries, making it perfect for reliable lifetime archiving. Unlike traditional disc formats, M-Disc DVDs have an expected mean lifetime of 1,332 years, which is ideal for family photos, videos or important business data.

They can be written to by compatible M-Disc Ready drives and are readable by most current DVD and Blu-ray drives. Data is etched into these discs in a groove, rather than lasered onto the surface, so they are less prone to damage if scratched.

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