Head in the Clouds: Back Up Your Data!
Friday, May 23, 2014 at 3:32PM
Liz in Computer Backup, cloud storage, home server, safety

Recently I was back at home in St. Louis, helping my parents out with some spring cleaning, when I found a cache of old computer accessories. There was a box full of floppy disks containing my all-time favorite computer game, Master of Orion. There were stacks of scratched CDs I burned in high school. There was a mysterious zip disk on which I had written “SECRET” in red permanent marker. I was doing everything I could to back up the data that was most important to me at the time, whether that was save files, music, or petulant pre-teen poetry. And that trend continued:  in 2010, I was in graduate school, and my data was saved on my laptop, desktop, and on an external hard drive. I was set! I was safe! Or so I thought.

Within a week, my desktop and laptop both died. No need for tears, they lived long, happy lives. I bought a used netbook on the cheap and, when I plugged in my external hard drive –

Nothing.

Dead.

And my data flashed before my eyes. All my music! Pictures! Movies! All the writing I’d done in 2.5 years of graduate school! All the writing I’d ever done, ever! Poof.

Hard drives can fail, and retrieving data from a dead hard drive can cost thousands of dollars. This is why I’ve switched to the cloud. Backing up my data on the cloud is easy, secure, and gives me peace of mind.

While hearing me espousing “the could” might make me sound like a delirious hippie, I assure you I’m not referring to an ephemeral suspension of condensed water vapor hanging perilously high above the ground. When you talk about “the cloud,” you’re referring to a network of servers which are used to store data. Cloud storage is inexpensive and user friendly. Once you have a system in place, your data will be regularly backed up, and all the thieves, house fires, and juice-wielding toddlers in the world won’t come between you and your data.

These are some of the best cloud storage options available, all of which offer free storage:

Google Drive

Dropbox

Skydrive

Sugarsync 

 

Does the idea of your data living on some server somewhere make you nervous? Why not set up your own server and keep your data right where you want it? If the idea makes you nervous, make a list of local computer service and repair shops, and reach out to them. You’ll be able to find someone knowledgeable who is as excited about the project as you are.

Regardless of your choice, make sure your data is backed up. You’ll sleep better!

 

Article originally appeared on CHAT TECH USA | Computer Repair & Sale, Fast Estimates (http://www.ctuchicago.com/).
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