Most computer users nowadays realize the importance of backing up their data. Just about everybody has had a hard drive failure, or at least knows someone who went through that agony. In fact, loss of equipment is one of the top 7 trader fears.
Most traders already have a way to back up their files, like Dropbox or an external hard drive. Those are both good things to use, and I recommend you do use them.
But are they enough?
The Cost of Loss
If you’re like most traders, you keep your external hard drive sitting right next to your computer. It’s great protection from a hard drive failure. But what if your computer fails for another reason? Or what if, God forbid, you should have a fire in your office?
Let’s look at the realities of what could happen to you as a trader if you suddenly lost your files. What would happen if you lost all your research notes, performance logs, and cheatsheets?
What if you lost the digital copies of tax returns, trading account statements, invoices, and similar documentation. And this doesn’t even touch the personal stuff, like photos and videos, you may be storing on your trading computer.
Sure, a lot of this you could get back from your Dropbox account (which is actually for syncing, not for backing up) or sources like your online brokerage account. But how much time would it take to re-gather all of it?
Or what if you’re traveling and need something from your external hard drive? You know… the one that’s sitting on your desk at home.
The solution is to use an automatic backup service that backs up all your files to the Cloud. These services can be set up to back up your files automatically from any device in any location, including external hard drives.
Then if you need to get your files—even if you have just accidentally deleted something—all it takes is a simple download to get running again.
Some of these services allow you to make a copy of your entire hard drive. So if you lose your local hard drive, you won’t have to painstakingly reinstall all your software on a new drive. Just restore everything from the cloud. Or, some services will overnight you a new drive so you can be up and running really fast.
Just try to do that with Dropbox.
But Is It Secure?
Cloud backup services do encrypt your data, which is good. But most also offer you the option to encrypt your own data using a password, which is better.
Using a password means absolutely no one—not a hacker, not the FBI, and not even you—can decrypt the data without it. (So be sure you keep your password in a password manager like Roboform—and maybe in your safe or safety deposit box, too.)
What About Cost?
Most of these services cost around $5 a month. At that rate, signing up is a no-brainer.
Sure, you can cart around a handful of thumb drives or an external hard drive everywhere you go, but who wants to do all the work of keeping track of that stuff? Which one has the most recent back-up? Did I remember to take back-ups yesterday? Etc.
A word of warning: Internet connection upload speeds tend to be lower than download speeds. Hence it could take days, or even a couple weeks, to back up the first time.
Companies that offer back-up to the Cloud include:
Look for plans that give you unlimited storage. You don’t want to outgrow your service.
Then sign up, back up, and sleep better.
There are more trading computer tips like this in our buyers guide. Check out our “How To Buy a Trading Computer” e-book.
We hope today’s Quick Tip helped you. If you found this helpful, you’ll want to check out the other computer How-To’s I’ve created on this page. You can always call us if you have questions: 800-387-5250