Between the documents, photographs and videos that home users now have, there is a lot of important stuff on the average home computer. Stuff that you wouldn’t want to lose if your computer or its hard drive failed, or if a disaster hit your home. When dealing with large amounts of data, of multiple formats, what are your options for keeping safe and secure backups?
The hard drives in today’s computers tend to be very large-often up to 1TB in size. This makes it incredibly difficult to create backups onto only CD or DVD ROMS, as two or three hundred DVDs would be required. Instead, the first and possibly the simplest option is to buy a large external hard drive, and copy all of your files onto that. With a 1TB drive costing a hundred dollars or less, it is possible to quickly backup a large amounts of data for a very low cost.
However, the fact that the backup would be stored in the same location as your original copy, means that if a disaster were to hit your home then both the original and the backup are likely to be lost. This can partially be overcome by storing the backup drive in a lock box that is both waterproof and fireproof, and keeping it in a separate room from the PC-and not on the first floor if possible.
Yet even a fireproof box will get warm inside, and possibly even hot enough to destroy the drive or the data on it. If you were already dealing with the heartbreak of losing your home, adding the loss of precious family photographs is going to be doubly hard. Additionally, running backups in this way can be time consuming and awkward, also leaving periods of time where data or files may be lost because you are between backups.
For the most disaster-proof backup solution you should consider an online backup service. These rely on your internet connection to send the files from your computer to a backup service, and access to these files are password protected. Most commonly a piece of software is installed on your computer, that controls the backups, automatically sending all new, or recently changed files to the backup server. Alternatively it might send the files only at predetermined times, but this is the less secure of the methods as it risks data loss in between backup times.
With the costs of data storage coming down every year there is no reason to risk your important files by only having a single copy of them. Online backup services now offer very reasonable prices, with many offering unlimited amounts of data backup for a single computer, or equally decent pricing for the whole family’s computers.
If you have a large amount of data then external hard drives are a perfect option for you, with terrabytes of data being able to be stored for just a one off, low cost. However for truly secure backup of your most important files, then the only real option is to subscribe to an online backup service.