Backup the backup

We all know the importance of routinely backing up our important files, right? Software systems and online services abound that make this seamless and easy for you. But what happens when your backup fails?

It is important to have two backup systems. Ideally, one should be on site and one should be off. Use archiving software and an external hard drive (never backup to your primary drive – this defeats the purpose!) for routine backups. You’ll also want to have a backup kept off site, such as CDs or DVDs in your safety deposit box, or at your best friends house.

Why two backups? Having one on site is great for when you accidentally delete a file, or your hard drive crashes. But if something happens to your office, such as fire, flood or theft, that completely compromises both your primary hard drive and your external, you’ll be very glad to have an off-site backup that you can retrieve data from.

Many computer security software suites, such as those from Norton, McAfee, or TrendMicro, have backup options available with certain flavors of their software. Frequently, external hard drives will also come with backup software, either already installed on the drive, or packaged on a CD with it. Depending on your needs, it becomes a matter of finding which software fits your needs and your lifestyle best.

Web-based services such as Carbonite and Mozy run in the background on your computer, and copy the files that you designate to their servers for safe keeping. You can set the backup to run daily, weekly, or even constantly, so that it updates every time you save changes to your files. This is very convenient, but can also be problematic if you have a major error with a particular file, and don’t realize it until the corrupt file has been backed up through your automatic service, whether on site or online. Having this secondary backup can help save you hours and dollars of recovery time and effort.

What’s your favorite backup system?

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