I am still astonished at the number of people who do not backup their computer data. Everyday I talk to people who have important data on their computers but they don't make much of an effort to backup or protect their data. Every once in while I talk to someone who is backing up data to a USB drive. If you are at least backing up your data to a portable hard drive occasionally, then you are better off than the vast majority of home and small business computer users.
While the USB or other portable drive is a great way to backup data, your data may be vulnerable in a number of ways:
- You usually only have a single restore point on a portable drive. The files on your portable drive usually represent the state they were in as of the last time you made a copy. If you accidentally deleted or damaged some files yesterday, and then made your backup copy last night, then you only have the files as they were at the time you made your backup copy. You may not have the ability to go back a few generations and restore files that were changed prior to your last backup.
- It is common for the portable drive to be in the same building and usually at the same desk where the computer sits. If a fire or other disaster occurs, your backup will likely be destroyed as well.
- Manual procedures to backup files often result in missed backups. Or infrequent backups. If your software automates the scheduling of backups, then you are probably leaving your portable drive attached to your computer and it is subject to the same fate as your computer in the event of a disaster.
Don't stop using your USB drive or portable disk to backup your data. Just be aware that you still have risk of losing data. Depending on the consequences of losing your data; you may want to consider other steps to protect your most valuable data or any data that would be costly to lose or recover. A good online backup solution can solve these problems. Online backup gives you the offsite protection as well as the automation and ability to recover from previous backups. There are some very good online backup service providers that charge a very reasonable price, so your data doesn't have to be extremely critical to justify the cost. In most cases, a single loss of data will be more costly than the online backup service will cost over several years.