One of the scenarios we never like to see here in the Mercy IT Dept. is a student who has lost important data. The looks of anguish and often times, tears, are enough to break the heart of even the most seasoned IT pro. The good news is with today’s cloud based storage options there really is minimal risk of this if a student takes the right steps and learns good backup habits. Here at Mercy we like to take the approach of using situations like this to teach students good data habits that they will be able to use through high school, college and beyond.
So what happens when some thing goes wrong with your iPad or laptop? You drop it and crack the screen or worse? Your hard drive crashes? a virus? There are many scenarios that may require you to either replace, reformat or repair your laptop or iPad but if you have current backups and use the right tools, you should always have your “stuff” and the transition should be relatively painless.
Option 1 – iCloud (iPad only)
The best option for backing up your iPad is iCloud. iCloud is Apple’s internet based (cloud) storage solution. Apple gives you 5 GB of space for free. You can add more for a fee. If you ever have a problem with your iPad having a current iCloud backup is going be essential to transferring all of your apps, data and settings. Learn more about iCloud.
Option 2 – iTunes (iPad only)
Using iTunes is another option when backing up your iPad. but it does require the use of either a laptop or desktop computer with enough storage capacity for all of your “stuff”. You also would have to have access to the backup device whenever you need to do a restore, unlike iCloud which allows you to restore using any internet connection. Learn more about using iTunes.
Option 3 – Google Drive
Mercy uses Google Apps for Education. One of the coolest things that comes with this service is Google Drive. Every Mercy student gets a Google Drive account and it can be used with almost any device; iPads, laptops (Windows, Mac OSX, Chrome books) and smart phones. Google drive lets users upload 5 GB worth of data. On top of this, any document created within your Google drive gets an unlimited amount of space! You can create documents, spreadsheets and presentations. There are apps for Google Drive that can be run on just about every operating system. Google Drive also makes sharing and collaborating simple and easy. Learn more about Google Drive.
Option 4 – Dropbox
Dropbox is another cloud based storage solution. Anyone can sign up for a free Dropbox account. Currently a free account will give you 2 GB of storage. You can upgrade this for a fee. Dropbox, much like Google Drive, works nicely with many devices and operating systems. You can also share content with other users fairly easily. Dropbox is purely a storage app and lacks the creation tools that Google drive has. Learn more about Dropbox.
Option 5 – The H: drive
The H stands for “home”, and every student at Mercy is given 1 GB of space for backup of school related data in their home folder. Currently this space is much easier to access using a desktop or laptop computer, for the 2013-14 school year we will be deploying an app that will make access to your H: drive work much the same way as Google Drive or Dropbox. This will make this space more easily accessible to users no matter what device they are using. We also plan on increasing the 1 GB quota in the near future.
There are also other cloud based storage solutions such as Microsoft’s SkyDrive and Box that can run on multiple operating systems and devices. Students can also use good “old fashioned” external devices such as USB/thumb drives and SD cards, but these of course are not an option for iPad users unless you have the proper adapters.
So there you have it! There is never a a good reason to lose your “stuff” as long as you take the right steps. Backup early and often!