Setting up a backup is probably on your to-do list. So why haven’t you done it yet? Maybe it’s because you’ve got a million other things to do, or maybe the technical aspects are a little daunting. A backup may seem like just another mundane task in your long list of to-dos, but a day will inevitably come when your hard drive dies, when your laptop is stolen, or when your accounts get brutally hacked. Like death and taxes, there are no exceptions to this rule — it’s only a matter of time. This doesn’t mean you should live in fear of a digital catastrophe; instead, take this opportunity to create the backup that your future self so rightly deserves. It’s easier than you might think.

So, where to begin? The first thing you’ll need is some kind of storage device to house your digital belongings. There are a multitude of mediums at your disposal, from USB hard drives to the anachronistic DVD. External hard drives offer the best price per gigabyte ratio and can be purchased at nearly any electronics retailer. They make an excellent baseline, but you can add more storage and better reliability with more advanced systems like RAID enclosures and NAS drives, which we’ll get to later.