The Best Ways to Backup Your Data

Top Five Ways to Backup Your Files

So you want to backup your files. Maybe your are worried about your data. Maybe you were like me, you lost your files, recovered them, and you now know you need to backup your files. Well, here are the best ways to backup your files.

1. Online Backup

The pinnacle of file protection

Pluses
*Convenience - To backup your files online you just need to install some software and let it work. Your files will automatically be backed up on your schedule.
*Security - With online backup, your files are stored off site, which means if you get a virus, or there is a fire, or anything, your files will still be there.
Minuses
*Cost - The only major minus is cost, but even that is not bad. For about $5 a month there are multiple companies that offer unlimited backup space.
*Speed - As you use your internet connect to backup your files, it can take a long time to backup everything. I believe my first backup took a month, but from then on each backup is incremental. Thus, my files are secured each day.

Summary
Online backup is clearly the best solution. It can cost more than other solutions, but it is still relatively inexpensive. It is certainly cheaper than loosing your files. I personally use Crashplan for my online backup, and it works well. I paid for 4 years.

2. External Hard Drive

Pluses
*Easy - With an external hard drive, like and internal one, you can simply hook up your drive and hit a key to back up your files. Or you can set up your computer to automatically back up your files.
*Cheap - While it is not as inexpensive as an internal hard drive it is still pretty cheap
*Portable - You can take your files anywhere, which is great if you want to store your backed up files off site.

Negatives
*Not the ultimate convience - It will still be a chore to take your external hard drive offsite for the maximum backup protection.

Conclusion
An external hard drive moves the price vs. convience point closer to a higher price, but it is still much cheaper than loosing your files.

3. Extra Internal Hard Drive

Pluses
*Easy - With an internal hard drive you can setup your computer to automatically backup your files every day. You can even setup your computer for a RAID configuration that will backup your files instantly at all times.
*Cheap - Data space is cheap now day, so getting an extra hard drive for your computer won't set you back much.

Minuses
*Data safety - With an internal hard drive as your backup method you are not protected in the case of something catastrophic happening to your computer. Yes, your files are backed up if your primary hard drive fails, but what happenes if you get a virus that wipes out all of your files or a fire happens?

Conclusion
Adding an internal hard drive for your backup solution is quick, cheap, and easy, but it does not offer the maximum data security.

4. BluRay

Pluses
*Cheap (kinda) - BluRay discs are pretty cheap for each of your backups, but the initial cost of buying a blu-ray player is not cheap.
*Portable - Just like CDs and DVDs, you can take your blu-ray disc with you, so you can store your files off site.

Minuses
*Expensive - The discs may be cheap, but getting that first drive will be expensive.
*Time consuming - They are not as bad as CDs of DVDs, but they do take time. At least you won't have to switch your discs back and forth a lot.

Conclusion
Like CDs or DVDs, Blu-Ray is a nice option for backing up your data if you have small amounts of data (under 25GB). However, it is just too time consuming if you need to back up a lot of information.

5. CDs or DVDs

Pluses
*Cheap - You can buy about 250 gigabytes of space for under $50. (One spindle of 50 dvds) And you can get a drive to burn them all even cheaper, if you don't have one.
*Portable - It is easy to take your backed up data anywhere with a cd or dvd. This is good if you want to keep your off site, and have your data backed up in case of a fire or something.

Minuses
*Time Consuming - It takes tons of your time to back up large amounts of data using CDs or DVDs. Yea, each disc may only take minutes, but if your are backing up tons of data, then that can turn to hours of time.

Conclusion
Backing up data with CDs or DVDs is great if you only need to backup a little information (less than 5GB), but if you have much more it is just not convenient. If you decide to backup with CDs or DVDs then this is the stuff you need. If not, then skip below.

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