Nobody likes backing up all of their important files. It’s tedious work that only really pays off when there’s a disaster, and who really expects something disastrous to happen to them? But anyone who’s lost files–or been forced to keep old devices because they can’t be bothered to move them over to a new one–knows how important backing up and syncing files can be. Good thing Microsoft is making that easier, right?
Microsoft has started rolling out a “folder protection” feature to all OneDrive users. The feature debuted in June for the service’s business customers, but according to The Verge, now it’s going to be available to anyone who uses Microsoft’s cloud storage tool. Just don’t get too excited; the feature has some limitations that mean you still have to set a few things up before your files are automatically sent up to OneDrive.
Right now the feature is limited to your Desktop, Pictures, and Documents folders. Some people will be fine with that. (Who doesn’t have that one relative who keeps every file they’ve ever made, downloaded, or otherwise interacted with on the desktop?) But anyone with more elaborate file organization systems will likely find themselves wishing the feature would just work for any folder on their PC instead of just those three.
Microsoft said in a support article that people with access to the folder protection feature will receive a prompt asking them if they want to enable it. That prompt asks you to confirm which folders you want to protect, and once you’ve selected them, you just have to hit “Start protection.” OneDrive will handle the rest, and from that point on your files should remain in sync across your devices and be easily accessible via OneDrive.
The primary benefit of folder protection appears to be the automatic syncing. But the feature also lives up to its name by making sure your Desktop, Pictures, and Documents folders are stored in OneDrive with ransomware protection enabled. Given how popular ransomware attacks have become, and how ill-prepared many people are for them, setting up folder protection might be the easiest way to mitigate that risk.
Now, there is a very separate discussion around whether or not it’s wise to back up your data to cloud servers you don’t actually control, depending on your need for data privacy. That’s a matter of your own personal preferences and security needs, and one I can’t decide for you. But do you need backup? Yes, you absolutely do, whether you’re running a small business or simply storing family photos from your smartphone.
A cloud backup shouldn’t necessarily be your only backup — there’s convenience to having a locally stored backup, such as on an external hard drive – but it’s a whole lot better than nothing.