Effective ways for backing up your data on your computer system

By | January 9, 2011

A good friend recently asked me about effective ways for backing up data on your computer. Here are a few ways you can backup your data inexpensively but reliably:

Using online storage solutions – One of the most effective ways of backing up small amount of data is to use online data backup services. There are various ones out there but two cool ones that I use are Dropbox and Evernote. Both have free versions that you can try out and see how useful they are for your backup plans. Dropbox offers you 2GB of storage for free and allows you to access data across multiple PCs. Anything you put in Dropbox is available online and on all the PCs that have the software installed automatically. The paid version starts at $9.99 a month for 50 GB of storage.

Evernote is an even cooler solution for backing up your data. It allows you to write notes, tag our data, and upload images, etc in organized notebooks that can be accessed from anywhere. It also allows you to Geo tag your data so you know when and where your created your content. Also the longer you stay with Evernote, the more storage you gain. The paid version for Evernote is also very reasonably priced at $45 a year for 1GB or storage per month.

Both solutions are on MAC, PC and almost all mobile platforms. Personally I prefer Evernote since it has more flexibility for storing content I would want to access from anywhere. I love the ability to create and tag notes and photos through their client applications.

Buffalo Linkstation 1TB recommendedUsing a NAS device – NAS stands for Network Attached Storage and is a device I recommend for people with multiple PCs in their home. It is a great device to hook up to your router and setup for automatic backup of data from multiple devices. I currently use the Buffalo 1TB NAS device and it has worked great. It came with a trial automatic storage software named Momeo but I haven’t signed up for the full version yet.

Using external storage device – If you have a large amount of data to backup and you don’t need to the flexibility of a NAS device, buying an external enclosed hard drive is the best solution for you. The following are devices I recommend:

Western Digital WD Elements 1 TB USB 2.0 Desktop External Hard Drive WDBAAU0010HBK-NESN Price: $80(or less)

Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex 1 TB USB 2.0 Ultra-Portable External Hard Drive STAA1000100 (Black) Price: $120(or less)

Using thumb drives or your cell phone
– Carrying a thumb drive on your key chain is still an effective way of porting small files from one location to the next. However I’m moving away from this since the risk of your files being stole are higher using this method. Most drives are not encrypted or password protected so you risk exposing sensitive data to theft if you misplace the drive. If you just want to carry some documents with you, using your cell phone or iTouch device is a easy way to store your data. Since most sync their cell phone to a PC anyway, using your phone as a USB device is a quick and cheap option.

Burning data to Rewritable CD or DVD – This is old school but is still a good way to back up data effectively. However please remember that CDs and DVDs do have a shelf life and do get scratched or damaged. Therefore make sure you make a backup of your backup if you go this route.

Hope this helps and please comment questions or feedback you have!