If you have a computer, you have important stuff on your computer. You may not think so at first. But with some reflection, you will realize that you have a few things you don’t want to lose. This is why ransomware attacks are so successful. People often don’t realize how important their data is to them until they are locked out of it.

The defeater to ransomware is a good backup. It is surprising how many people don’t have one. Ransomware attacks are not the only things that can wipe out your data. A corrupted hard drive can also cause you to declare data bankruptcy. A spilled glass of water on your laptop could also do the trick. Much data has been lost to fires, floods, and all manner of disasters both natural and otherwise.

So the first thing you need to know about online storage is that it is one of the best and surest ways to prevent data loss. There are a few things you should know about choosing a backup service. But even if you don’t take the time to do the research, you should know that a bad online backup service is many times better than no backup at all. Here are a few other things about online storage you might find useful:

It Requires a High-speed Connection

Online storage is one of the best reasons to have your computer connected to the internet. But to get the most out of it, you need a good internet connection. You don’t have to have one of those bundle deals where you get a phone line and cable TV service that you don’t want or need.

There are very good options for internet service only providers who will give you the thing you actually need for online storage: speed. That first backup can take forever. But attacks against your data can happen anytime. So once you decide to upload to an online storage provider, you want it to happen as soon as possible.

Unlimited Data

If you have a few terabytes of data to store and retrieve, you are going to run into data caps if they are set too low. If you are one of those people who happens to have a huge hard drive as well as data on an even bigger NAS, you need to call your provider and find out about your data cap. It might be high enough so that you have never run into them.

But uploading all your data to the cloud is not normal activity, and can cost you extra money. There is a chance your provider has a higher data tier that would accommodate your extra needs. If there is an unlimited data package, that is likely the one you want.

Know Your Backup Options

There are two kinds of backup systems. You might want to have both depending on your needs. There is the incremental backup that only saves changes as you make them. And there are image backups that clone your drive and freezes it in time in case you need to get back to that state.

You also need to know about full backups vs. partial backups. If you have a Mac, you might use Time Machine. That is not a full backup. It only saves your personal data, not your system data. So you will need to reinstall the OS. Only then can you restore personal data. An image backup saves everything as it is. So you have to be sure that your system files are not corrupt in any way. If it is, then restoring the image will restore the corruption.

Pricing Schemes

Some backups offer a price per machine such as $5 a month for unlimited storage per machine. If you have three computers in the house, that could get expensive. Other schemes charge by the gigabyte regardless of the number of machines. Pricing can be all over the map. So do the math before you jump in.

You absolutely need online storage. But be sure to get a service provider with fast enough speed and a high enough data limit. Choose the right backup option. And carefully study the pricing so that there are no surprises.