Recently I read an authority’s article on getting backed up.  To summarize, it went something like this “The best practical solution is to buy and use an external hard drive.  After all they’re less than $100 bucks and they’re easy to use . . . besides, who has the time to backup like an IT person in corporate America?”

HP SimpleSave 500GB Portable Hard Drive for backing up your computerEasy, yes, really backed up, no . . . Does the real solution require the effort of an IT professional, no.  First, let me qualify why you’re not really backed up.  The external hard drive is typically connected to your computer where the computer spends most of its time, the very place where disaster will strike.  When you get a virus, have a fire or when theft occurs, it’s likely your external hard drive will suffer right along with the computer.  How effective is that?

My daughter turned 16 a few years ago.  She came to us excited with the prospect of an 11:00 o’clock weeknight bedtime “just like my older brother, when he turned 16.”  There is no way, I rebutted.  She is pretty tenacious so the burden of proof is now left with me.  I go over to the fireproof file cabinet and pull out a spindle of archive DVDs and look for something around 5 years ago, he is about 6 years older.  I pop the disk in the drive and pull up the kids allowance chart and there it is, 10 pm. Oh, you’re such a geek, a disappointed daughter replies!

The thing is, we change and update old documents, we delete data on purpose or accidentally and sometimes we need to easily access an old version.  It’s just not possible with an external hard drive solution.  How many old versions of a file can you keep and for how long before you run out of room and have to free up space on that drive?

1.  Get an online backup program that needs little or no attention once set up.

2.  Use a DVD burner to burn an archive backup once a month for the fire box or off-site storage.

There are several online backup solutions out there and now that they are affordable, they are your best passive solution to get you backed up daily.  My favorite is  For $54 a year per PC, they are the only one, at that price, that can successfully back up an open MS Outlook data file.   I leave Outlook open 24/7.  It’s probably my most critical file and most programs will not back it up successfully when it’s open.

Mozy will getting backed up servicekeep 30 days worth of archives.  This means you can go back to the way a file was yesterday, the day before, the day before, you can go back thirty days to different versions of the file, even if you had changed it once a day.  Very Cool!  You download and install it.  It’s smart enough to automatically default to your My Documents, Favorites and Links in Internet Explorer, Windows settings, Outlook data etc . . . you can tweak it to include additional files that are not so common.

The security has higher encryption than my online banking.  The data is backed up on multiple servers in different parts of the country in case of natural disasters.  When you first install it may take a few days to back up with minimal effect on your use of the computer.  After that, it backs up when you haven’t touched the mouse for thirty minutes.  I have mine set to backup 3x a day.  It’s slick!

Once a month I use the software that came with my computer’s DVD burner, to name a few . . . Roxio, Sonic or Nero.  I burn a copy of my data to archive in the fire box in case I need to defend my actions in court.  You just never know when you might need a file or something you changed or deleted long ago.

Yes backing up the computer is paramount.  Hard drives crash, theft occurs and disasters happen.  Get backed up and back up as often as you don’t mind loosing the information since the last time you backed up.

Want more info like this?  Attend the next Mark Porter Live training workshop or keep an eye out for the next blog entry.

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