For any business large or small, backing up data is mission critical. Think about this: What do you do tomorrow if the hard drive on the only computer you use (for work or play or both) crashes and you have no backup? If you are a business, unless you have comprehensive paper backup (and if you do you are going to be re-entering a lot of data), you may have just lost all invoicing, accounts, contacts, contracts, employee records and the rest. What isn’t digitized these days?

Here is how I approach backup. First off, consider that every system has its pros and cons. Factors to consider include ease of use, security, cost, reliability. The list goes on. Any one may weigh their own factors differently.

Second, know that you have to protect against various types of loss risks. These include theft, equipment failure, data degradation, technology obsolescence and electrical surges to name a few.

Whatever method you choose, redundancy is critical. For many work files I use the Dropbox file sharing service. There are security concerns with using cloud services such as Dropbox, but I’ve determined for myself that they are worth the risk. Those files are readily available on any computer, tablet, or smartphone on which I have installed Dropbox software. Dropbox has both free and paid services.

I also use the paid Carbonite cloud service to backup data. Carbonite is a reasonably priced and, importantly, it operates in the background while my computer is on and connected to the Internet. It is constantly backing up, and backs up not only my hard drive files, but also all of my Dropbox files.

At the end of the day, I pay about $60 a year to ensure that all my business critical data is backed up regularly.

Many people choose to backup locally to another device (e.g., thumb drive, spare hard drive, tape back up, paper backup). A potential problem here is that an electrical surge, fire or theft could wipe out your backup along with the originals.

Whatever you do, back up your data!

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Backup services mentioned in this post:

  • Carbonite link (If you sign up we both receive rewards from Carbonite.)
  • Dropbox link (If you sign up using this link, I receive additional storage space. You can then get your own sharing link to accumulate storage space.)

What do you do to back up your important data? Do you have a simple, cost-effective plan in place? Please share!