I know, deep question…Some of it is critical, those digital pictures you’ve always intended to print but never got around to. Those emails from family and friends that you’ve saved forever (a topic for another day). Those documents you created and saved. Let’s think worst case. What would happen if disaster struck? Your hard drive dies, or your computer gets stolen, or a natural disaster strikes. How would you feel if all of that data were to go away and never come back? If that strikes a little fear to the heart, you need to consider a backup solution.
There are several ways of going about backing up your data. One way is to get an external hard drive and use the backup software that came with your drive or operating system. That’s a step in the right direction, but isn’t always the best solution. What if there was a fire or flooding. That hard drive would go down with the computer.
What else is there? There’s on-line backup and storage. The benefits of this is that the backup is off-site and secure. It’s accessible from any internet connection so you can restore your data from anyplace, and some programs allow you to share files with others. There is a difference between on-line backups and on-line storage. On-line backup programs like Mozy and Carbonite do a great job of backing up in realtime, meaning they wait for the computer to go idle and then they look for any files that have been added or changed and back them up for you, automatically. The downside is that they’ll only keep a deleted file for 30 days, so if you accidentally delete a file and don’t notice it, after 30 days, it’ll no longer be available to you offsite. These programs run about $50-$60 a year. A storage site, such as Dropbox allows you to upload files to online folders and pretty much keep them online forever. Some of these programs will have you install some desktop software to your computer so you can drag and drop files or folders in a nice Explorer type environment and schedule automatic and regular backups.
Most online backup/storage sites will give you free storage space and/or allow you to try their services for a limited time for free. Realize also that the first full backup to any of these programs will take some time, even days to complete. Future backup will be much quicker as it will only be backing up new or changed files.
If you are the type of person who would like to setup automatic, background backups, or if you would like some storage to save files to and that allows you to share certain files with others, there is a solution for you. Regardless, the need for backup is critical, so check one of these out, sign up and use it.