What is a Backup?
A backup is a copy of one or more files created as an alternate in case the original data is lost or becomes unusable. It could be just your financial information, or it could be your entire computer; although in most instances, only the data needs to be saved since it’s easy enough to access the programs used to create the data.
Why Are Backups Important?
Most people don’t realize the importance of having a backup until it is too late. Sadly, it isn’t until you have lost years of photos, school papers, business documents, e-mail archives, music, movies, or any other irreplaceable data, that you realize just how important it is to do a backup.
Hard drives are designed to last many years, but there are no guarantees. Software corruption can also damage your files. Why take any chances? Back up your files!
Who Needs to Do a Backup?
Simply put, EVERYONE should backup their data, whether it be pictures, documents, or a website.
How to Do a Backup
The best way to back up a computer is to use an external storage device, such as an external hard drive, flash memory device, or even another computer. You can also create permanent backups using optical media, such as CD-R and DVD-R discs.
Backing up individual folders and files is as easy copying them from the source media (your computer’s hard disk) to the destination (an external hard drive). If you want to backup your entire system or would like to have regular backups automatically performed, you can use backup software that will backup your data for you.
Mozy is an online backup service that I use for backing up specific folders on my computer. It’s reasonably priced and it can be set up to back up your computer on a regular basis.
Carbonite is another popular online backup service.
When Should a Backup Be Done?
If you have not yet backed up your hard drive, now is a good time to do so. Waiting until you lose valuable, irreplaceable data is NOT the time to think about it.
A power surge, lightning strike, hardware failure, or natural disaster could leave you without your important data or the use of your computer. Backing up your files will allow you to retrieve some, if not all, of your information. Then if something happens to the originals on your computer, you will be able to restore your site.
And then be sure to store it in a safe place… in a fireproof box or offsite.