The more people I talk to, the more I am amazed at the lack of backups people do. The most common method I’ve heard about is people burning CDs or DVDs on a very erratic/irregular basis. If this is your personal method, let me take a moment to shout at you:
YOUR COMPUTER’S HARD DRIVE WILL DIE OVER TIME.
THE CDS AND DVDS YOU BURN WILL DIE OVER TIME.
YOU NEED MULTIPLE BACKUPS.
Sorry bout the yelling, but I felt an intervention was in order. Why? Well, first I like to think I’m looking out for my fellow man/woman. Second, I know full well that all my non-techie friends and family, upon the moment where their 7-year-old computer finally kicks the bucket, are gonna call me and ask how they get their beloved pictures back. Psst – you can’t.
Here’s my personal backup strategy, it’s easy to follow and doesn’t require a massive amount of effort:
- I own a portable HDD (Seagate Freeagent), a NAS (Maxtor Shared Storage plus – probably replacing soon), and a Drobo. I also have an Infrant ReadyNAS at my office. This is, in a word, massively excessive. But not by much. I recommend TWO different external storage solutions, and I further recommend buying them several months apart. Hard drives die over time, and if you get two drives simultaneously, you increase the risk that they will die in tandem.
- I have a monthly calendar appointment (first Sundays) to do a backup. During this backup I copy everything from my Documents folder into the various drives. Personally I do not worry about having numerous archives, so I can do all my work in a simple drag and drop. If you do need multiple versions of things, I recommend picking up some backup software (no specific recommendations on that from me though).
- Photos are an exception. I backup photos the moment I’m done downloading them from my digital camera. I’d rather lose a month of documents than a month of photos. I also am a Flickr “pro” user, which gives me unlimited online backup at full resolution, and I do a Flickr upload within a day of downloading photos also.
I hope this inspires a few of you to get your act together with a backup solution. Unfortunately, it probably doesn’t, as it seems to be one of those things that people ignore until it’s too late and they’ve lose data.
To put in other terms. No backup == FAIL.