A Backup Plan

backupYesterday, I wrote about how a DMCA takedown notice was maliciously used to take down legitimate content.  I recommended backing your site to your local computer.  But how do you protect against your computer dying?  After all, your computer might be safe from a DMCA takedown notice, but it encounters all sorts of dangers.  A virus could infect it.  The hard drive might die of old age.  A power surge might fry it.  And if your computer goes belly up, it can mean you lose a lot of data as well (photos, documents, etc).

So what is the best method to avoid digital catastrophe?  I used to burn my data to CD discs.  Since each CD stores 700MB, this can be a good method if you don’t have much data to back up.  You can get a 100 pack of CD-R discs for under $21.

After awhile, I found that I was using too many CDs to easily back up my data so I switched to DVD discs.  Each DVD stores 4.7GB and you can get a 100 pack of DVD discs for under $25.

Of course, as time went on, I found I needed to back up to multiple DVD discs.  This meant that backing up my computer was becoming less and less easy to accomplish.  As it became more difficult, I found I was putting off backing up – a dangerous situation.  Considering that external hard drives are always increasing capacity and dropping in price (you can buy a 3TB hard drive for about $130), I purchased an external hard drive and moved my data there.

Thankfully, when one of my computers experience hard drive failure, my data was safe.  It got me thinking that my external hard drive wasn’t a perfect solution, however.  If that external drive died, it would take all of my data with it.

My solution was to purchase a second 1TB hard drive.  Now, I back our computers up to one drive and back up that drive to the second one.  If one drive dies, the other drive will keep our data safe.  Of course, to make this a near-perfect backup solution, I should move one of the drives "off site" to protect against burglary or fire.

Most recently, I’ve noticed that my 1TB drives are filling up.  It looks like I’m going to have to buy a bigger drive.

What is your backup plan?

NOTE: The links above are Amazon affiliate links.  I will receive a small compensation if you use them to make a purchase.  Also, the "backup" image above is composed of "Cartoon Computer and Desktop" from DTRave and "Hard Disk" by richardomaia.  Both images are available from OpenClipArt.org.

One comment

  • I use Crashplan as an online backup solution. You should look into an online solution. A portable drive is good, but if you keep it in your home and you suffer a fire/flood/some other disaster, your data *and* backup are both gone.

    For a long time, I used Carbonite. I was actually very happy with Carbonite for a while, but I had to stop using them. It turns out that once you hit 200 GB of data (very easy to hit for a photographer), they throttle your upload speed. As a result, I’ve switched to Crashplan.

    Zev Steinhardt
    Zev Steinhardt recently posted..Fifty Two Frames Week 6: Levitation/In The AirMy Profile