Backing Up Data, Cheap and Easy

March 19, 2013 | Kate Horrell

I have a huge data problem…I’m always losing it.  My life revolves around the laptop upon which I am currently typing.  In theory, that would be fine.  In reality, my family is really, really hard on computers.  Computers get injuries and don’t always get attention immediately.  I currently have two laptops and a desktop waiting for me to make time to take them to the repair shop.  And on one of those laptops is a presentation that I need.  Yesterday.

There are dozens of ways to back up your data, and many of them are free.  The best ones do cost some money, but it might be a wise investment depending on your situation.

External Hard Drives

Purchase an external hard drive, and use it regularly.  Be sure to check that your data is actually backing up.  I once made the unfortunate discovery that I had only backed up part of the data from a computer.  One problem with using an external hard drive is that you are not protected against physical disasters such as fires or floods.  You can store the hard drive in a fireproof box, but even that is not completely safe.  Don’t count on an external hard drive as your only back-up, especially for things like pictures that would be a huge sentimental loss.

Email

Email may be the easiest and  cheapest way to back up some information.  I keep copies of my families prescriptions, including eye glasses, in emails sent to myself and my husband.  I have literally borrowed a computer at an opticians, printed out a prescription, and ordered glasses from it.

Online Data Storage Services

There are so many options for online data storage services.  Most offer a small amount of data storage for free, and a larger amount for a cost.  Some update automatically and others require you to manually move the data.  Peter Anderson at Bible Money Matters has put together a really comprehensive listing of online backup options.  The comments are useful, too.  I particularly like the idea of using a combination of free services to cover all your data.  For example, you could keep your music on one, your pictures on another, and your other data on a third.  Free is good!

I use Google drive for projects and other documents that I need to keep safe and might need to access from somewhere other than my computer.  My cousin just recommended Mozy, which is listed in Peter’s post.  Like me, her entire business is on her laptop.  She says it has saved her many times.

Do you backup your data?  What system do you use?  Do you pay for a service, or use free ones?  Please share, as well all want to know.