It has happened to almost everyone at one time or another; we have lost some or all of our data – whether due to a computer crash, virus, loss of the single disk or deletion of the single copy. Whatever the case, there are steps you can take to reduce the risk and not be put in that position again.
The key to backing up your files is to devise a type of system that works best for you and stick to it. You can choose to do it manually or use an automatic backup program. Whatever your case, stick with it and do it often. Also name and date your backups. If you have multiple versions, you can tell which version is the latest.
Hard Drives – Today external hard drives are so cheap that everyone should have one. Not only are they perfect for storing all those family photos and mp3s, but the perfect solution for backing up critical files and in most cases ALL your files. They are also a quick way to backup large files that may be too large for CDs or even DVDs.
CDs and DVDs – Backing up your files on a CD or DVD is also very important. Hard drives can become corrupt, get viruses and can crash. Once your files are burned to a disk, they are relatively secure. Blank disks are so cheap that they must be part of any backup procedure. Disks are also a prefect solution for archiving files that you no longer need on your computer.
Backup offsite – It is also extremely important to have at least one type of off-site backup. You can have a dozen backups at home or in the office, but anything can happen to that location, such as a fire, theft or a natural disaster. They will do nothing to you if they are all lost. A simple solution is to keep a copy of your files both in your home and office. Or mail CDs or DVDs with your files to a friend or family in another location. If anything were to happen, you would at least have it as a “fail safe”. Online Storage is also another form of off-site backup.
Online Storage – There are plenty of online options such as xdrive (www.xdrive.com) and box (www.box.net) that range in price from free or start at around $ 5 a month. You can also use your current web hosting as another form of backup. Most hosting plans offer at least 5 gigabytes of hosting space. You can create a folder called backup and upload all your files there.
Other Options – Most web-based email accounts offer a large amount of storage space that could be used to back up files. Either upload your files there, if possible, or just email you an attachment and you’ll have another copy of it online. There is a great service called yousendit (www.yousendit.com) that allows you to email large attachments. It only stores them online for 7 days, but it is a good way to send a large file from the office to your home and then backup later.
* Side note – Battery backup systems for your desktop computer are a must in case of power failure. They keep your computer running for minutes, giving you time to store and shut down your computer. No more losing files due to power cuts.