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August 13, 2012

Back Up Back Up Back Up

Every year, 43% of computer users lose their music, photos, documents, and more. – PC World 2010.  A March 2012 article in Gigaom noted that 60% of 640 small and medium businesses surveyed have not even budgeted for backups. Only 15% of those surveyed have an automated backup plan in place. These numbers are even worse for consumers where 29% have never backed up their computers per  I find this to be very disturbing. In the event of a hard drive failure, these people could lose things such as pictures of loved ones, letters, notes, spreadsheets, memories, etc. that are not stored anywhere else and are at risk.  Businesses not backing up are in danger of losing important information for their business such as financial records, important correspondence, etc.

Backing up is a cheap insurance policy against data loss. It does not take long (backing up data to a DVD takes less than ½ an hour) and to purchase a 10 pack of rewritable DVDs at Staples costs under $18 on their website. To recover data on your hard drive from a data recovery service will run about $500 minimum up to a few thousand. Recovery is not guaranteed however. One service also prices out by emergency service which is 24 hours; priority service which is 3 days; and standard service which is 2 weeks turnaround time. You want 24 hour turnaround and you will pay for that level of service. Many who have a computer for personal use will find using a DVD to back up your files adequate.

On a personal note, when I have had to reinstall data from my backup, I was up and running with the essential files and programs within about 4-5 hours. I can be surf the internet in a lot less time. Note that you should have your program disks in a safe place. The cost, not in the hundreds or thousands of dollars but less than $100 which was the cost of my external hard drive.

My question to you then is what scenario would you rather have when your data is lost? Personally I prefer my inexpensive insurance policy so to speak of backing up my data should I ever need it. Several years ago in about a 3 week span, 2 friends of mine lost data on their computer. One was due to a flood in their office and the other was due to a hard drive crash. They did not have backups. Confidential client data and irreplaceable family pictures were lost. Had my friends backed up their computer, any loss would have been minimal. If you think this could never happen to you, think again. As they say, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

Further, I also have copies of backups away from my home. Should the unforeseen happen, I still can get my data. Hopefully that scenario will never happen but if it does, I am prepared.

You can use different media to back up your data. A USB drive (although I do not recommend that you use this method), DVD drive, external hard drive, online backup service. Prices will vary of course. If you are using an online service, some also offer a free version. These versions are not as good as the paid versions. A free service may meet your needs so do keep that in mind. If you choose a paid service, Carbonite offers a plan with unlimited space for as low as $59 per year per computer. For those that need to back up more than 1 computer, they also offer other plans. I have only heard good things about them.

In the end the choice is yours. Before deciding that you will not back up your data, think about what would happen if you don’t and you have a hard drive crash, a virus that destroys your data or some other mishap.

If you have additional questions about backing up your computer(s) please call me at (917) 572-3468. I can determine the backup plan that is best for you. Think of it the same way you think of auto insurance, homeowners insurance or any other type of insurance. You hope you do not have to use it but should you ever have to use it you are glad you have it. I also can back up your files for you so that in the event of a hard drive failure you will have files as of the date of backup.