Backup Basics

Greg’s Tech Tip*

The number one tech tip for anyone is to backup your data. When you use a computer long enough, you *will* have a disk failure (I’ve had 3 so far myself).

I subscribe to the “if it isn’t in 3 places, then is doesn’t exist” school of backup.

That means you have your original data (usually on your computer), a local backup copy (like on a backup disk), and an off-site backup (either using a “cloud” backup service or by rotating disk drives to somewhere else).

The local backup protects against disk failures and accidental removal of files. The off-site backup is for catastrophic events, like if your house burns down taking your computer and the backup disk with it. Typically the local backup is a full backup, and the offsite can be more for the critical data such as photos, financial records, etc.

Both Apple OSX and Microsoft Windows provide a pretty good built-in backup app, and there are several “cloud” based back-up solutions to handle off-site storage, CrashPlan (, Backblaze ( and Carbonite ( being but a few. The best thing about all of these is they automate backups, so you don’t even need to think about it. Just set them up and let them do their thing.

You don’t need to do all these backups at once. If you only have the time or money to setup one (local or off-site), then do it. It’s still *much* better than no backup at all.

*So who is Greg? He is a Software Engineer, my tech support guy, and also my husband.  I usually just have to say “I wish I could do x tech thing” and presto! Greg makes it happen. He keeps up on the latest tech news, researches the latest tech items, tests it out and knows all the pros and cons. Hopefully you will benefit from his tech knowledge as much as I do!