If you use a USB flash drive to store precious data, then stop. It will get you into big trouble and your boss (or spouse) will not be happy.

They are easily broken, easily lost, and easily erased. One of the biggest dangers with this backup method , is it sometimes becomes the actual data storage location.

When you save a file to your USB drive, and they the next time you need the file you stick in your USB drive and use the file stored on it, you have now moved the file to the USB drive and it is no longer considered a backup. The only recent copy is on the flash drive, and you don’t have any other copies. That is not a backup! (Back away from the computer.) All you did was move the file from your computer to the USB drive.

A backup means you have 2 copies. If something happens to one, you have another.

When you work off the flash drive, the only updated copy is stored on the flash drive and that will not help if it is lost, stolen or damaged. Remember, a real backup is having more than one copy.

So what can I do?

The biggest error I’ve witnessed is using “save as”. Computers try to be smart these days, and they remember the last place you saved, and the last place you opened. Once you save it, then open it, it saves it in a place (the flash drive) and then it opens it from that place (the flash drive again).

Here are 3 tips;

  • Use the backup function provided inside the program. The program knows not to use the backup as a working database and will continue to use the actual location, while backing up in a different location.
  • Use a backup program to backup at night. This will do the backup for you, and you don’t have to remember to do it. You just have to check and make sure it still works from time to time.
  • Use online backup. Safe, secure, and no hassle. This is the easiest way (albeit most expensive way)

Now you can get online backup for less than ever! Take a look at our online backup plans!

Don’t be the next person to lose important data stored on a flash drive. They are great for data transportation, bad for backups.