If you have a computer you need a good backup plan.
It shocks me to realize how much of the life I take for granted is on my computer. Not anywhere on paper I can hold in my hands. Thousands of family history files and photographs, contacts, email, financial files … Thousands and thousands of hours of work. The thought of any of it disappearing leaves me breathless.
You’ve heard it all before. Computer crashes are not a matter of if, only when. Fortunately, my computer crashes so far have happened after I started a serious backup routine.
Everything required for a secure backup plan nowadays is affordable and simple to use. Not backing up your files is inexcusable considering the potential loss.
There are basically two types of backups to consider. One, backing up to drives or disks at your computer. Two, backing up away from your computer.
First, think of backing up your files to external drives, either external hard-drives, flash-drives or even disks. Any of these options is very affordable nowadays. I use all three. Be sure to have more than one.
In conjunction with this, it helps to have software to make this process fast and easy. You set it up once and it takes minutes a day everyday after that. The software I use is called Syncback. Read about how Syncback works.
You should also keep backups away from your computer and usual residence. If something happens to your home all your files will also be lost. Not just your genealogy files but all your financial and other personal information that will be critical to getting you back up and running. I also back up all my files online.
These are some of the options:
Carbonite is simple and straightforward online backup. Install a small file on your computer. Tell it what you want backed up and it’s done while your computer is idle.
Mozy is another straight online backup service that runs in the background of your computer, making incremental changes after the initial full backup. Like Carbonite, all your files are encrypted before they leave your computer.
Estate++ is an online service for keeping your financial and medical directives. Files can be uploaded and downloaded to specific people as you wish. It is better suited to this special purpose than the other choices as it’s specifically designed to deal with the details of estate issues. Read more about it here.
Box is completely web-based for storing and sharing files. You can edit files online and rearrange them for sharing or collaboration as you desire.
Do not put this off any longer. Take inventory in your mind or on paper. Where are your files? If you lose one copy, where’s another? If something happens to your home, where are your files? Make a plan if you don’t have one. Have several backups and keep them in different places.