Online Backup Services help you securely backup your files to a computer or storage space somewhere on the internet.
No one usually… until… they lose a critical piece of work they’ve spent the last few hours, or even days creating!
Or they lose all the photos and memories of an epic event or holiday or loved ones.
Worse still, what happens when your hard disk crashes?
This has happened to us more than once and it’s a nightmare getting yourself setup again.
Luckily for us there are plenty of software programs and online options which back up your files in the background without you even being aware of it. The only problem is, you either have these files stored on another drive, or another disk.
You probably think it’s highly unlikely you’ll lose your computer and all your hard drives.
I’m about to reveal a sure-fire system to wipe out any data. DON'T TRY THIS AT HOME lol!
- One laptop
- One (or two) external hardrive(s) placed next to the laptop
- One mug of coffee
1. Apply the contents of the mug liberally to the laptop and hard drives, throw hands up in horror (5 seconds)
2. Panic and shake the laptop and hard drive to extract coffee (5 seconds)
3. Lose all your files and precious data (timeless)
Store all your important data off site. An online backup service removes the pain and worry of disaster striking. You can rest easy when something disastrous happens, you’ll still have your data safe and snug, somewhere out on the internet.
Before using any online backup service, ask the following questions:
Is the data going to be secure?
Is it accessible from anywhere?
Is it going to be cost effective?
Is it easy to use?
Let's say right now we're no experts when it comes to online backup services. We do know however that some are too expensive for the average home user to be bothered with. However we use Amazon S3 and it costs less than the price of the mug of coffee I spilled above. In fact for the backed up contents of two computers our current monthly bill is 62 cents per month.
Amazon S3 has been around since 2006 and is an online storage system called Amazon Simple Storage Service – Amazon S3 for short. It's suprising not many people have heard of it – probably because backups are the last thing on their mind. This is the blurb that Amazon have on their website:
Amazon S3 provides a simple web services interface that can be used to store and retrieve any amount of data, at any time, from anywhere on the web. It gives any developer access to… blah, blah, blah”
Scary stuff – they mention developers and web services and other techy stuff. Fortunately there’s a lot of tools that make the whole job easy, once you’ve done a bit of setup. Actually even the setup is easy!
Signing Up With Amazon S3 Is Easy
Signing up for Amazon S3 is pretty simple as you can use your existing amazon id if you have one.
Secondly, you need to get some backup software that can copy files to S3.
Lastly you just need to setup the software to copy files from your computer to your hard drives, and to Amazon S3.
Once you’ve set it all up, it’s fully automatic and you can literally just leave it to run.
Amazon is huge. They have a massive number of computers and storage, and can afford the best security so your data is in safe hands.
We have a couple of backups that we perform hourly for things we're currently working on – it’s all automatic so we don’t even notice it. We also regularly backup all our emails to S3 and about once every couple of weeks, backup all the data on my computer.
Other Cloud-based Options
With the advance on the internet, it's now possible to store large quantities of date on the cloud. What this means is your information is securely stored on an internet server somewhere in the world, which you can access from your smartphone, laptop or desktop.
The service we use and love the most is Dropbox.com, but there are other cloud based services out there like Microsoft OneDrive, Google Drive, and iCloud.
Research each option on Google and see which suits your purposes the best.
The point it – do back up the file, photos and emails on your laptop or desktop, because it's disastrous when you don't. And it might not be a mug of coffee that's the problem, it might be a burst water pipe, a theft, a glass of wine etc etc.
Look after your files – back them up regularly.
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