Why Data Backup Matters

Following our CryptoLocker Virus Alert last month, we’d like to remind you how vital it is to Back-Up your data regularly. If you read our item, you’ll recall there are only 2 ways to deal with Crypto Locker: pay the ransom (not advised) or restore your data from an earlier Back-Up.

Since our article another NSS customer was duped into opening an email containing this virus. Fortunately,
their data was restored from Back-Up after the virus was cleaned off their system. So it is essential to have an external backup drive handy and an easy way of making backup copies. That way the routine becomes a regular habit.

This Blog covers the main features to consider when buying an external hard drive for data backup:

External Hard Drives: How to Choose the Device for Your Digital Needs

External hard drives offer valuable digital storage and portability. However, it can be hard to choose the best one for your needs. These are the key factors to consider when searching for an external hard disk drive (HDD).

Storage Capacity

Portable hard drives are available with a variety of storage capacities; ranging from 160 gigabytes (GB) to 750GB. You can also buy one terabyte (TB) and two terabyte models. If you are looking to transfer files and folders from one device to another then you will find a smaller-capacity drive sufficient. If however, you intend to use the drive to add extra storage to your computer or as an additional backup layer – then go for a drive with a higher storage capacity.

Transfer Speeds

The transfer speed is the rate at which an external hard drive can transfer data to and from a host controller (i.e. a computer). If you plan on using the drive to simply back up and store data, you probably don’t need the fastest external hard drive on the market. On the other hand, if you plan to store large multimedia files then look for a drive with a quicker transfer speed, like those with a USB 3.0 interface. USB 3.0 offers transfer rates up to 10 times faster than its predecessor; the USB 2.0 interface.


How portable an external hard drive is depends on 3 factors: size, weight and durability. Many portable hard drives are just a few inches in size and weigh no more than a few ounces. This means they are lightweight and can be slipped into a pocket – so you get portability without sacrificing storage capacity.

In terms of durability, any portable external HDD needs to be durable enough to withstand the minor abuse sustained through daily transport and use. Look out for mobile drives with drop protection features and that are made from solid, long-lasting materials such as aluminium or sturdy plastic. A soft HDD zipped cover case is a good investment for around £6.


In case of loss or theft of your external hard drive, it is vital you have encryption software installed. Look for drives that offer password protection and, ideally hardware-based encryption. While software-based encryption does offer some protection, it may not be as secure as hardware-based encryption.

Back-Up Software

In addition to pre-loaded software there are a wide range of external software programs which can be used in conjunction with external hard drives to ensure an efficient and regular backup. The software can range from simple applications which may only back-up files, such as: the default Windows XP BackUp and Windows BackUp & Restore for Windows 7 and Syncback (there is a Free version available), to more complex backup applications such as Acronis, which creates a full live disk image of the machine meaning it is not just files which are backed up but an exact copy of the machine during the time of backup.

Think Belt & Braces – HDD Drives Do fail

Do not rely on just 1 external drive. It’s good idea to have at least 2, even better 5, and swap them for your daily back-ups. That way, should any one drive fail or other disaster strike – you will only ever lose 1 day’ worth of data.

Don’t Open .exe or .zip files sent by Email

Finally, please don’t open .exe sent to you by email and be very careful about opening a .zip file unless you are expecting to receive one. One unwary click could download a virus in seconds. It can erase or encrypt your data or even lock you out of your own computer before you know it’s even happened.


Decide which factors are most important for you, and then use them to help you find the external hard drive that best meets your needs.

If you would like further advice or recommendation on your backup needs/requirements then please feel free to contact us on 0808 168 5999 or katy@networksupportsolutions.co.uk