How do you back up your computer data? I’ve always used an external drive. Luckily, the time I did have problems, the tech guys at my local Apple retailer were able to save my data. In the Winter issue of The Professional Quilter, tech columnist Gloria Hansen wrote about “cloud” backup services. Here’s an excerpt from that column.
In a 2008 column, “Preparing for the Hard Drive Crash,” I wrote how it’s not a question of if a hard drive will cash, but when. Hardware failure continues to be the number one reason that data is lost; human error comes next. Even having an external drive is no longer enough. We have all learned that the worst does happen – fire, flood, hurricane, burglary. In in that situation, your external backups may also be gone. Enter online backup.
The vast majority of today’s computer users use the Internet on a regular basis. Higher speed connections and the regularity of web use make online storage an excellent way to supplement your external backup, and in some cases replace it entirely. You may have heard “backing up to your cloud” or “accessing your cloud” or similar. This simply means putting information on a remote server via the Internet. Using online storage offers advantages. The facilities are secure, the data is encrypted and password protected, and many services continually monitor data to ensure that there is no corruption or loss. Many services are cross-platform, meaning you can transfer data from a Windows OS to another, such as a Mac OS. Some also offer mobile access such as apps for iPhone, iPad, and Android.
All online backup services generally work in the same way. You sign up for a service, pay for rental space on the company’s server, select a password, download the needed software from the service, select what you want to back up, and run the program. After the initial upload, incremental backups of new and changed data are automatically done on a regular basis. This eliminates the fear that you forgot to backup.
Services to consider include Carbonite, SugarSync and Mozy. You might also consider a bootable external backup of your data using SuperDuper on a Mac or Acronis True Image Home on a PC.
While many people will be happy with only using an online backup service, keep in mind that it is possible that you will not have an Internet connection when you need your data. Another drawback is that most services only backup data, so be sure to have a backup of your operating system and program, including serial numbers.
Using an online backup service will give you some peace of mind. Keeping your data both in the clouds and on the ground in some kind of external drive will add another layer of security and convenience. Either way, if the worst happens, you’ll be ready and running.
Please share your experiences with cloud storage on our blog.
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