I was recently talking with a gentleman that proudly told me he does not have to worry about loosing his files if his hard drive crashed or if his computer got infected with a virus. He said to me, “I just copy everything to the cloud.” He uses Google Docs and uploads his Microsoft Office files, family pictures and even tax returns using Google’s service. I asked him a very simple question, “What happens when the cloud fails?” I received a perplexed look followed by, “What are you talking about?” I said, “You have all of your important files stored in one place and that one place is somewhere out there on the Internet. What happens if you need a file and can’t access the Internet or if your files are accidentally deleted?” He just looked at me like I had three heads.
I am not knocking storing files online. However, it is never a good idea to have all of your files stored in one place. I don’t care if that one place is the Internet, USB drive, CD, DVD or external hard drive. You are betting that there will never be a problem with that one place where you are storing ALL of your files. Foolish bet. I recommend backing up files to at least two different locations. The first location is local such as a CD, DVD or external hard drive. The second location is offsite (if your house burns down) using an online backup service. Here is a more specific backup plan that may work well for you:
- Daily backups to an external hard drive.
- Once a week backups to your online storage provider.
- Once a month backup to a CD or DVD (depending on how much data you have) for long-term storage. Also, it would not be a bad idea to toss those CD or DVD discs into a fireproof safe if you have one.
Now back to the guy that thinks Google Docs will never fail. I asked him to look into possibly using Backupify. It is an online backup service that specializes in automatically backing up information from Gmail, Google Docs, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and other online services. He said that he would definitely look into it. I gave him the links below for more information. I hope you find them informative as well.
THE DAY THE CLOUD FAILED – GOOGLE AND AMAZON:
BACKUP YOUR CLOUD
POSSIBLY USEFUL ONLINE BACKUP SERVICES:
MY FAVORITE BACKUP SOFTWARE…AT THE MOMENT:
Save your files and save your sanity.