I do not know if Benjamin Franklin actually said this, but it is true. In our current age, I would like to add one more thing, PC Failure. Eventually your shiny new computer (Windows, Mac, Smartphone, tablet, and now even watches), will fail and the data on it may or may not accessable once it meets its technology maker (recycling plant). Because we all know this to be true, we should have some means of protecting that data, but often, this is ignored. Because I work with technology every day, I am aware of the many ways computers can and will fail. I make sure to protect all of my systems, but for the average person, they either do not think of it or there is this belief that the data is not that important.
So what am I talking about? I am talking about backups. A vast majority of people either have no backup plan for their home systems or is so manual that eventually the external hard drive or thumb drive bought is sitting in the drawer of their desk. A solid backup plan takes only a few hours to implement, is completely automatic and, if done correctly, is completely virus-proof, hardware failure-proof, storm-proof, snowmageddon-proof and even toddler-proof. It doesn’t have to be complicated. The plan below is the same philosophy that we use for our business client, just in a smaller form.
“In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”
Components of a Death-Proof Backup System
So what do I use for my home network? I have a WD Mybook (link) plugged into my desktop at home or any other external hard drive will do. Just make sure it has a large enough capacity to hold multiple copies of your hard drive (3-4X your Hard drive space should suffice). I use Acronis to make an image of my computer and save it to the drive. For most though, you do not need an image. The software that comes with your drive or even the Windows Backup can work here. I also subscribe to Carbonite home for $60 a year. This provides a continuous backup offsite. This, I believe is a minimum for any home system. It is not a lot, but I am not worried about losing the years of pictures and work done on that computer. Because it is not practical to have a external hard drive plugged into my laptop, I simply have Carbonite backing it up.
For Mac, I use the built in Time Machine to backup the Mac to a hard drive which provides a continuous image backup and Carbonite for the offsite backups.