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How to back up important files

The one thing that seems to get over looked constantly is good backups. Coming from an enterprise environment where backups and the ability to recover from a disaster is absolutely critical had me thinking about what we do for our home data.

Things like your digital photos and maybe electronic copies of documents are irreplaceable. So what do we do to back it up?

For most people they simple don’t back it up. It hasn’t occurred to them. Others back up data to a USB drive or to an external hard disk. This is a much better idea, except that it is often kept close to the computer so if it should be stolen then there goes your back up.

I know some people who backup to a USB hard drive then store the hard drive in a safe. This is much better and if your safe is fire proof then it may even survive in a catastrophic event like the place burning down.

I know still others (granted they are the your typical IT geek) who back up to one external hard drive, then to a second one and then take the second one offsite to a relatives place. Now that is getting closer to the best type of backup.

Me personally I’m a little lazy. So what do I use? Well I like Cloud technology.

And what is cloud technology? I hear you asking.

You probably heard of it in the form of products like Dropbox, and Google Disk and Microsoft Onedrive. These are storage locations on the internet. Depending on how much space you need this could be free or as cheap as $30 a year to store your documents. In a latter post I will go into the more business grade storage options which includes Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Office 365 and Google Docs. However for this post I am going to talk about the home solutions you can use to make sure that your data is not  only backed up off premise but also available to you anywhere anytime (including on your phone or tablet).

dropbox-logo-4 google-logo microsoft_onedrive_logo1

 

Each of these solutions have Apple iOS apps as well as Android and PC apps which makes sharing data between devices very easy. So how does it work?

With each solution you  are required to sign up and get an account which then entitles you to a nominated amount of secured disk space on their server. In the case of Microsoft and Google the chances are you already have an account with them in the form of an Outlook.com (previously known as Hotmail.com) account in the case of Microsoft or a Gmail account in the case of Google. Both of these will automatically get you access to to Onedrive or Google Disk. Below is a table that compares these products.

OneDrive Dropbox Google Drive
File Size restrictions? 2GB None with Dropbox apps 5TB
Free Storage? 15GB 2GB 15GB
Can I earn Extra free storage? Yes Yes No
Paid Plans $2 Month for 100GB

$4 Month for 200GB

$7 Month for 1TB

$10 Month for 1TB $2 Month for 100GB

$10 Month for 1TB

OS’s Supported Windows

Mac

Android

iOS

Windows

MacLinux

Android

iOS

Blackberry

Kindle Fire

Windows

Mac

Android

iOS

So you can see that depending on how much you are needing to store and the operating system you plan on using you can usually get away with either of the free Microsoft OneDrive or Google Drive options.

 

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