Computer back-ups: needed or not?

When disaster strikes, a good insurance company can help you put your life back together by paying to repair damage or replace anything that has been completely destroyed.  But there's one thing no insurance company can help you replace: treasured family pictures.  Fires, floods, mudslides, and even tornadoes will destroy pictures, all too often leaving victims with nothing.

Fortunately, you can avoid the loss entirely by scanning old pictures, and backing up your files.  Pemco communications manager Derek Wing says it's important to have a backup at your home and somewhere else, just in case.

"When happen, not only can your home get damaged, but obviously everything inside the home gets damaged, and that can include computers."  Wing says there are a variety of options for storing and backing up files; it all depends on how much time and money you are willing to spend.  A portable hard drive is relatively inexpensive, and can be set to back up automatically.  The downside is that if you aren't home when disaster strikes, the hard drive will probably be destroyed alongside your computer.   If you are willing to pay a recurring fee, you can use a cloud service to back up your files.  Apple's iCloud, Amazon Cloud, and Google Cloud are all well-known options, but there are also services like Carbonite and DropBox to consider.  Wing says while security can be a concern, you can take steps to make your particular account tough to hack.

"Things like making sure that your password is - pretty strong, and that includes all the things that everyone talked about: capital and lowercase letters, numbers, symbols, those kinds of things. And then there's also something called two-factor authentication. That is, there are some sites where not only do you have to type in your password, but then they will send you a text with a code on it and then you can type in that code as well. That really makes sure that things are secure."  The theory is that a hacker would have to figure out your password and have access to your phone in order to access your account.

Wing says when it comes to priceless photographs, it's not a question of if you should have a back up.  The trick is finding back up system that works best for you.