My wife watches “Sex and the City” as often as she can. Sometimes I watch also, sometimes I do everything to ignore it. One particular episode stuck out this week. In it, the main character (Carrie,) has her computer crash, and hard drive fail. This is a problem, as she is a writer, and her entire life is on that computer. When everyone asks her if she had it backed, up, she is mystified, as if it was something that she should know but nobody talks about.
Backing up your system is very important. It can be the difference between losing your entire digital life, and a data recovery. In my IT career, when I have mentioned backup solutions, I usually get a reaction from my customer, that is like a puppy hearing a strange noise. They cock their head and ask what I am talking about. I have seen photographers lose their entire life’s work, a real estate agent lose her entire contact list (and her business files,) and I have seen parents and grand parents heart broken because the pictures they so carefully collected over the years have been irrevocably lost.
There are several solutions to this problem. Some web based, and some hardware based. We will take a look at both, and I will provide links to look into it. This is a great point for me to stop and talk about our new online store that has just opened up. We only have a few offerings at the moment, but more will come depending on the popularity. Hardware based backup solutions usually involve an external hard drive. These can plug in easily to your USB port on your computer and you can copy and paste the information to it, or you can use built in software to back up your important files. The advantage to this is that you always have your backup at hand. The disadvantage is that even these can fail over time.
Cloud based solutions can eliminate the failure rate, as they are on redundant servers that are always protected and on. The best of these is, is Carbonite. You can get a free trial here. The great thing about services like Carbonite, is that they run automatically, and back up all your important files, documents, pictures, and movies. While there is usually a yearly fee, it is not difficult to use. Another service, is Dropbox. Dropbox allows you to use up to 2.5GB storage for free (compared to the unlimited, but paid Carbonite.) You can choose to pay to upgrade your storage, or invite your friends to use it and earn more storage.
All in all, the importance of backing up your computer/tablet/smart phone cannot be understated. I once heard a saying. “If you fail to plan, you can plan to fail.” This is especially true with your data. Back it up and be safe, or don’t back up, and when your hard drive inevitably fails, lose everything.