Backing-up Your Home Computer is More Important Than Ever

Almost everyone I know, under the age of 60, has a computer in their home. As you know computers get cheaper and better as the months and years go on. One thing that has crept up on us are the differences in the way we use our computers. I pay every bill from my computer, every picture I take ends up stored on the computer, and now every bit of music that I own is stored on the computer. It's not just me; Photos, music, letters, bills, tax information,... is what you will find on most people's home computers. There is good news and bad news here. First the good news; your data, photos, etc., are now much easier to find and retrieve and it takes a lot less space to store. The bad news is; that those data and photos are much more vulnerable to being lost forever. Several years ago, it would have taken a fairly significant disaster to destroy your family photos and music collection, such as a major fire or flood. Now, all it takes is a simple mechanical or electrical failure in your computer's hard disk device. By the way; your hard drive is the most likely hardware component to fail in your computer ( not including non-critical components, like mouses.)

There is actually more good news in the fact that we are storing our treasured pictures and music on the computer; now it is easier than ever to make a duplicate copy and store it somewhere else. There are lots of ways to copy data from your computer to backup media. There are quite a few commercial programs you can purchase to backup your computer to CD's, DVD's or tapes. However, I find that most people are not doing anything that offers much protection. If you backup your important files on a regular basis, then you are doing a better job than most people. The most effective way to backup your files is to use a product that does it for you automatically everyday. You have to remember to change the media (tape or CD) everyday. If you can do this; then you are back to even with where you were 10 years ago when it would take a significant disaster to destroy your data.

If you want to take your data protection to the next level and protect against a major disaster, then all you have to do is move your backup media to a location away from your computer on a frequent schedule. IT professionals have been doing this since the first computers were invented. You are advised to keep your backup media in a different building that is not near where your computer is located. This is a much more difficult task than it may sound like at first. Some people have good intentions, but just can't seem to move that media consistently and they find themselves not doing it for weeks at a time. Most medium and large businesses use an offsite vaulting service to move their media on a daily basis, costing hundreds of dollars per month. While I don't think this is practical or justified for home users, there is great value in moving some of your backups offsite.

Internet based online backup systems are available that automatically copy your files everyday, and you don't have to change your media, and your media is stored offsite automatically. Now that most of us have DSL or Broadband Cable, we can easily get professional data protection for our home computers. With all of the benefits and conveniences, you might think these services would be pricey. Some are. But some are reasonable and are designed for home users and small business. Most of these services are very safe to use because the data is encrypted and stored in very secure environments. Rhinoback is free for up to 100Mb of storage, and only $14.95 per month for a whopping 8Gb of online storage. There are many other online backup services available, most of them are geared toward business users, but some, like Rhinoback are perfect for home use.

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