Backup or Lose It

Are you trusting your data to your computer because you have yet to lose information?  Are you thinking it won't happen to you?  If so, I have some wisdom for you.  

People tend to trust their computer and think it will be functioning tomorrow or 3 years from now.  I assure you, this might not be the case.  I once bought a name brand laptop that it went down 4 times in the first year.  I have purchased new hard drives that died in the first 2 weeks and a recent one malfunctioned in the first 6 months.  Hardware problems can cause big data problems and teach you a lesson in trusting a computer.  Now there are easy and inexpensive solutions for everyone, and here are some good ones.

Some Backup Solutions

FOR VERY IMPORTANT DATA

1.  If you need to protect accounting data, make a separate backup every day, labeling them Monday through Friday.  On Friday make another backup, labeled weekly backup, and at the end of each month make a NEW monthly backup.  Keep 6 months of these.  Each night have the bookkeeper take a backup home.  Every Friday and at the end of the month, have someone else take these backups home.  These home backups are vital.  If you are robbed or the building burns down, the in-house backups will be "toast."  I have experienced this.

FOR NORMAL BACKUPS

2.  If you are doing normal backups with a Mac, buy an external hard drive that is twice the size of the total data you expect to put on your computer.  Make this external hard drive into a Time Machine hard drive and it will automatically backup your data every hour.  The Mac operating system prompts you to do this when you plug in a new drive.  It is still important to have a backup off site.

Apple also has Time Capsule, (link) in 2 TB and 3 TB configurations.  This is a Wi-Fi router and a backup hard drive in one device, starting at $299.   The advantage is that it can backup multiple computers wirelessly.

Other people also make wireless backup solutions like Clickfree.

FOR DOUBLE BACKUPS

3.  If you want to protect your data between these hourly Time Machine backups, because you can do a lot of work in an hour that you would not want to lose, set up a Raid hard drive (redundant array of independent disks).  This can be set up as two hard drives in one case that are a duplicate of each other.  As you write data to one drive, the data is also transferred to the second drive.  If one hard drive goes down as you are working, your data is safe on the other drive.

FOR OFF-SITE BACKUPS

4.  Off-site data backup can be accomplished in several ways.

  • Buy a small external hard drive and take it with you.  You can now buy a portable Western Digital 500 GB hard drive on Amazon for $65, or
  • if you don't have a lot of data, backup important files on a DVD, or
  • use a $23, 32 GB USB flash drive to backup your data, or
  • use a tape backup drive.  These can be expensive, or
  • buy backup space on the internet from iCloud, Amazon Cloud, Google Drive, Microsoft SkyDrive, justcloud.com, zipcloud, livedrive, myPCBackup.com, SOS, SugarSync, Mozy, iBackup, Dropbox, Carbonite, Box.net, Live Mesh, Oosah's, JungleDisk, BOXSTr, Xdrive,...

I have only used Apple's iCloud, so you must do your homework to find the right cloud based storage solution.

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