Checklist: Storing Your Files Securely

September 15, 2023 | Blog

File storage is likely one of the top concerns for computer users next to performance. When something goes wrong with a computer, like a black or blue screen of death, the preservation of files is one of the most immediate concerns. 

No one wants to lose albums of photos, collections of videos, playlists of favorite songs or vitally important documents, which is why secure file storage is critically important. And the best way to backup and store files securely is to create a process that becomes a reliable habit. 

Secure file storage starts with understanding the type and quantity of files you’re hoping to store, how best to store those files based on your preferences and any added measures that need to be considered. Here’s a checklist to get you started.

Identify and prioritize files for storage. Files aren’t universal. Photos, videos and documents are all different file types requiring their own unique amount of space. So, to get an idea of how much space is needed for proper and secure file storage, it’s best to understand what is being stored. Businesses may need to file more documents, for example, than a family computer — which may be needed to store more photos and videos. This is why the first step in establishing a secure storage protocol, at home or at work, involves identifying the type and quantity of files that need to be stored.

Choose a preferred storage location. Filing options have come a long way from the days of hefty, metal cabinets that were locked with a key. The digital age has ushered in a new slate of options for those looking to securely store files, from external hard drives to cloud storage to an automated backup system and network-attached storage. They each have their benefits and best use cases. Network-attached storage, for example, is scalable. Cloud storage offers access to files from anywhere. Automated backup systems make sure important data is backed up on a regular basis. And, external hard drives offer additional space to store files that don’t need to be accessed frequently.

Enable encryption. Even when they are securely stored, unauthorized users who gain access to files could still see whatever those files hold. Encryption is an added layer of defense against that happening. Those who encrypt files have control over who can see or modify certain files, particularly those that contain sensitive information.

Implement rules. Securely storing files, especially if it’s a new process, requires practice. Whatever that practice is that your home or business adopts for secure file storage, it should become a regular habit to avoid circumstances where files fall through the cracks. Some experts even suggest implementing a 3-2-1 rule, which involves keeping three copies of files in two different formats, with one copy kept offsite. That process may be necessary for certain types of invaluable files, but other secure processes for files used every day may be less cumbersome. Regardless of the process, it’s important to put it into practice and check for its efficacy every so often — which includes testing and checking the backup process on a regular basis. 

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