There are two types of hard drives: those that have crashed, and those that will. When was the last time you backed up your important documents, files, pictures, songs or movies? Not backing up your files is a disaster waiting to happen.
Always having a current local back up is a good idea. A better idea is to have these same files backed up off-site as well. You never know when your local external hard drive may crash or if your house burns down or gets flooded or a crook breaks in and steals your equipment.
There are several different options to backing up your data to the cloud. There is one in particular I think is worth looking into which is CrashPlan. With CrashPlan, you can backup your files to a local drive, your friend’s computer, or to the CrashPlan server in the cloud. Once you set up your backup source, locations and times, files are automatically backed up without any further input on your part. The backups continuously sync. CrashPlan even offers file encryption. Encryption scrambles your files so that they are not readable. However, I still would never back up my most sensitive files (files that contain bank info, social security number, DOB, etc.) without first encrypting it myself and then backing them up to a service provider. CrashPlan of course says that they have no way of looking at files that you encrypt using their service. I have nothing against CrashPlan, but it is just standard operating procedure for me to encrypt my own files, regardless of who the service provider is.
Go to CrashPlan.com and take a look around. They have different back up plans, some free and others that cost $33-$150 a year, depending on how much data you want to back up. Let me know what you think and feel free to send any questions my way.