Sunday, September 01, 2013

Not “IF’ but “When”

I know for many of you my comments this week will seem like a “broken record.”  If you understand the analogy then the message is definitely for you.  If you have no idea what a “broken record” is or you think it is some computer file corruption, you can just ask some over the age of 50.

The explosion in the use of smart phones, tablets and other mobile devices has made many of us comfortable with using the “cloud” to store our data.  Rather than all of our files, pictures, emails and other digital stuff being stores only on the device they are “backed up” in the cloud and as a result are relatively secure.   At the same time however for those who still us a desk top or lap top computer, the importance of backing up our stuff is still often overlooked.

As reliable and robust we might think these devices are, all are only a power surge or hard drive crash away from disaster. Your tax forms, banking information and priceless pictures of Aunt Esmeralda all can be lost forever.  A backup routine is absolutely a necessity and can be accomplished easily and inexpensively.

The most inexpensive method but one that I don’t recommend is to do weekly backups on an external Hard Drive or DVD.  There are two reasons I don’t recommend this method First, you will most likely keep the backup copies in the same room as the computer thus fire, flood or other calamity will destroy the computer and the backups.  The second reason is that you won’t have the discipline to do the backups.

The best way to make sure you are protected is to subscribe to an online cloud based service.   There are several.  I use a service called Carbonite  but there are many other companies that have similar or the same services and features.  You can google “Cloud Backup Services” to get a list.

For an annual cost of about $60 your computer files are automatically backed up and stored in the cloud.   Once installed you don’t need to remember to do a backup it is done whenever a file is created or changed.   You can identify all files for backup or only selected files.  Once in the cloud these files are available to you form any computer connected to the internet.  Of course if your computer crashes all the files can be retrieved and stored on the repaired or new replacement computer.

For those who have experience loss of important data backing up becomes a high priority.  For those who have not had the problem it is not a case of “if” but only “when” this will become your priority.


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