Guest Author Moira Allen
The one light of consolation in my valley of desolation was the knowledge that, just a few days previously, I had completed one of my massive backup jobs. I'm a compulsive "backer-upper." I have a second, terabyte hard drive on "The Beast" itself, upon which I back up new and changed files daily, basically as they happen.
Once a week, I back up my collection of new and changed files onto an external drive that lives in the desk drawer. (To make this simple, whenever I back something up onto the second computer drive, I also toss a copy into a "Backup" folder on that same drive, so that it's easy for me to locate for the weekly backup.)
I also prefer to keep a copy (or two) of materials off-site.
Initially, I did this by burning DVDs and sending them off to my mother-in-law to store. Now I keep another terabyte external drive in a safe deposit box at my credit union. Once a month, I retrieve it, back up everything that has accumulated, and then stick it back.
These days, for many of us, our business, and a good portion of our personal lives -- photos, letters, journals, etc. -- reside on our hard drives. If something happens to that hard drive, a big chunk of your life could abruptly go down the electronic drain.
So back it up. Then, if the screen goes dark, you have the consolation of knowing that, even if you have to buy a new computer and start from scratch, you'll be able to pick up where you left off. In the meantime, you'll have the fun of rediscovering whatever it was we did when we didn't have computers!
Moira suggests we backup to a “Cloud Server.”
There are many available; the one that seems to offer the best deal for large quantities of data is Carbonite. (Most of the others charge by volume -- and if you're like me, with tons of photos and high-volume files, this could add up in a hurry.) These services load a program onto your computer that automatically backs up and synchronizes your files. If anything happens to your computer, you can access the files from another computer or laptop.
I disagree. We live in the age of cyber theft and anyone with a keyboard and internet connection in Nigeria, China, Russia, Hoboken can hack into these servers. The only secure backup for your TurboTax, pictures, or other documents you would be decimated to lose is an external hard drive. They are inexpensive, and can be programmed for automatic backup. Mine happily hides behind my monitor and after a fiasco like Moira’s in January 2011, I sleep at night. (I also maintain old fashioned paper files.) As Moira suggests, there are smaller versions you can disconnect and keep in a safe deposit box in case of flood or fire.
The deciding question: What would losing your saved documents cost you in time and expert help if the unthinkable happened?
Back It Up
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