Don't Waste Your Money, Backup Today!
We do a lot of data recovery in our shop, and while we can often get amazing results, it's better to never need it in the first place. Whether you're a parent with tons of digital pictures of your kids or a business owner with critical documents (or both), backup is the most important thing you should be doing. Why? Because while every computer can be replaced, your data can't be!
The 3-2-1 Philosophy
There are many ways to think about backup, but we advise an approach called 3-2-1. Essentially it boils down to the following:
Three Copies: It's only a backup if there's more than one copy! Simply moving your files to an external hard drive to save space is not backing up. In this case, the 'three' means your original data and two copies of it (in case the first backup is corrupted).
Two Places: Because Murphy's Law is a universal constant, you generally can't have too many backups. The real trick is making sure you're not trusting a single device to save the day.
One Off-Site: You may have a local backup using something like an external hard drive, which is fantastic, but what happens in the event of fire, flood or theft? Generally an external hard drive shares the fate of the machine it's attached to. Therefore we recommend also backing up to secure, encrypted backup services online.
This Doesn't Sound Easy!
Yes and no. Thankfully the tech industry has seen the need for easy-to-use backup and has responded with an explosion of services. You've probably seen/heard ads for a variety of them. We recommend one called BackBlaze to most of our clients. Combined with a fairly inexpensive external hard drive, it makes a 3-2-1 style backup easy even for people who consider themselves non-tech-savvy.
How? Well it will automatically manage all of your backup needs for only $5 a month. Once installed, it encrypts your data and backs it up to an online vault that only you can access. Additionally it can make local backups using an external hard drive if you have one. The local backup is easier/faster to restore from and the online vault means you can get running again even if the worst happens!