The following is a Plus Edition article, written by and copyright by Dick Eastman.
I have written many times about the need for backups. Many people make backups to CD disks, to plug-in USB hard disks, to jump drives, or to other devices, and then store them in their homes or offices. They think they are fully protected. After all, "I made a backup." However, just ask anyone who survived Hurricane Katrina or a California forest fire about their backups! They lost their backup data at the same time that they lost their computers and all their other belongings.
Of course, cataclysmic disasters are not the only causes of lost backups. A simple burst water pipe can ruin both your computer and your backups if they are stored near each other. Beyond that are dozens of ways media can be ruined or lost. Suffice it to say that protecting your data needs to be a major concern for all of us.
Data security experts will tell you to always keep at least two forms of backups, stored on different media, and keep them in two different places. Having three or four different forms of backups is even better.
Keeping backups locally is very convenient. There is little work in making them. Should you ever need to recover some files, you simply grab the locally-stored backups and start restoring. However, making backups across the Internet can be equally convenient, probably easier, and, in many cases, cheaper.
Cheaper? Indeed. To make local backups, you may have to purchase a few blank CD or DVD disks (a few dollars) or a jump drive ($5 to perhaps $60) or a plug-in USB hard drive ($70 to $150). If you already have a broadband Internet connection, the costs will vary from free to a maximum of $7 a month. I suspect that most people choose the free option.
If you back up your important files to the Internet, you will not need to pay for any additional software or hardware. You may need to download and install some free software, however. If you already have a broadband connection to the Internet, you are all set.
The Internet has millions of terabytes of disk space available, and you can find several sites that will give you free space to do a backup. In fact, if you already have an Internet page or web site, you can even upload your backup files there, as long as you have enough space.
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