Monday, June 11, 2007

Storage: Online File Backups

Computers today are the center pieces for information in our lives. They hold personal documents, photographs, videos, music, recipes, and other types of miscellaneous information. We are constantly adding more and more information to these devices, and we are having to buy larger and larger hard drives to store it all.

What happens when your hard drive fails? Do you have recent backups of your data that are good? If not and you have a system or hardware failure that takes out your data you will have no way to replace it?

There are four rules that you should follow to ensure the safety of your data:
  1. Find a good backup program that you trust
  2. Backup the data on a regular basis (daily or weekly).
  3. Test your backup to make sure they're good (monthly or quarterly).
  4. Store your backup in a alternate location, rather then leaving them next your computer. Its also good idea to have multiple sets of backup that you store off-site.
To protect your data you have a few options to back it up:
  • CD/DVDs. Store it on a CD (700MB) or DVD (4.7GB or 9GB, for single or double layer disks). If you use this method I would recommend buying read/writable disks. Also make sure your DVD burner can burn double-layer disks before buying this media. Note: Older drives can't fully utilize these disks.
  • External hard drive. You can get a lot of storage for not a lot of money these days, and its very fast compared to using CDs/DVDs to store the data. You can also use USB flash card or other type of removable media (i.e.: SD cards, CF cards, etc.).
  • Online storage. The best thing about online storage is that your data is stored off-site. That way if there is a major disaster, and your data is destroyed your data will survive.
Below is a list of online storage providers that you might want to check out:
  • Xdrive: 5GB for free. (requires AOL account), or $9.95 for 50GB per month.
  • JungleDisk: Uses Amazon's S3 service, and cost 15 cents per gigabyte.
  • Mozy: 2GB of free storage, or unlimited for $4.95 a month.

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