We have all heard the phrase “Back up your Data” but what exactly is Data and what does it mean to “Back it up”.

Initially, Data was thought of as being letters, numbers and symbols used in computer programming or some other reference such as what computers collect and record and largely that is very true. If we were to see actual raw Data we would be unable to make sense of it but when Data is processed, when these letters, numbers and symbols are organised, we see it as information, useful user-friendly knowledge such as words and numbers we can read and that make sense to us so, you can see that “Data” and “Information” are very closely linked.

As internet language has evolved we now refer to Data as including for example our personal information – name, age, date of birth, schools attended, where we have been employed etc. We also leave some of our personal data on some websites we use when we have to log in with an email address and passphrase for example online shopping, banking and also on the social media platforms we use, what we call your Digital Footprint.

But included in that Data there are also important personal documents, not to mention thousands of photographs for example, saved on our phones, laptops, tablets etc or from a business perspective intellectual property, contacts, purchase orders, client details, account and banking details – all necessary for your business to run smoothly.

We rely on our devices and networks to work from the moment we pick them up or power them up but how would we react if the device was broken, lost, stolen or our network being the target of a malware attack locking access to that data unless a ransom is paid.

This where “Backing up your Data” becomes really important. From the nostalgia of memories committed to photographs to the necessity of business continuity and resilience, “Backing up your Data” to The Cloud or an external storage device should be high on your list of priorities.

When you “Back up your Data” what you are doing is saving your important files in a separate safe location such as a portable Hard Drive or USB stick or The Cloud as said. In effect, you save copies of your important Data, which you can rely on as being there when you need them if the device you have relied upon is broken or lost or the target of malware as alluded to.

In relation to Businesses, we recommend you conduct regular “Back ups” so your Data is as up to date and current as possible – Preparedness like this makes your resilience and time critical recovery, more efficient.

Our colleagues at the NCSC (National Cyber Security Centre) have compiled these excellent resources to further assist you backing up personal data

Police Scotland

Information from Police Scotland Cybercrime Harm Prevention Team

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