With a new year and a chance for resolutions, I resolve not to lose any important files on my computer this year. From priceless family pictures and videos, to tax documents, budgets, the music library, and everything else, there’s a lot on your computer you don’t want to lose. And what about your business computer? Would your business continue to function if your data was not available?
I think everyone has accidentally deleted a file. In addition to that, many other things could go wrong: a virus, a hard drive crash, a stolen laptop or, even worse, your house and contents are destroyed in a hurricane or fire.
The solution is to make copies of your data so that it is readily available when disaster strikes. Remember your house and contents could be destroyed, so consider making two sets of backup files. One stays home and the other is stored somewhere off site – keep a copy at work or with a friend or neighbor.
Here are a few options that are often used for backing up data:
CD/DVD copies – Most computers will have a CD or DVD burner already, and you can pick up blank disks for under a dollar each. This is a quick and cheap way to get started, but it is very difficult to automate a backup solution. As the size of your data increases, you’ll burn through disks quickly.
Flash Drives – These are small devices that plug into any USB drive. They are easy to carry around; you could keep one in your pocket along with your keys. As long as you don’t lose the drive, your backup data goes where you go. You will need to remember to plug in the drive and do the backup periodically. You can get a 128GB thumb drive for around $60.
External Hard Drive – These devices are larger than a flash drive, but still plug into a USB drive. Most will come with software to make the backup process hassle free and automatic. Some even come with a one click solution so you push a button at the front of the drive and then let it do its work. Prices on these continue to drop and you can easily pick up a 500GB drive for around $100.
Online Backups – There are several companies that will let you back your work up through secured connections to their servers. The advantage to these ‘cloud based’ services is that they are not in your house and will be available even if your house were destroyed. Most will give you a few gigabytes for free. If you need more storage there is a monthly fee – usually $5-$10. Mozy, Dropbox and Google Drive are a few options.
Do you have a story where a backup saved you? What strategies do you have in place?