Fire, burglary, viruses, the delete button… what do all of these things have in common? The ability to wipe hundreds or thousands of hours worth of work, files, photos, emails and more from your computer!

We’ve all done it. Deleted a file we shouldn’t have. It’s seriously annoying. Multiply that feeling by several thousand and you might get close to understanding why it’s a good idea to backup your computer on a regular basis. Whether you use your computer for work or just at home, the chances are there is a lot of information stored on there. The idea that all that information can just vanish probably seems remote. That is until it happens. Suddenly you find yourself wishing you’d been a bit more careful about protecting all that data!

I’m sure lots of you reading this probably do backup some of your information. Maybe it’s to a hard drive or a memory stick. But if you think this is enough then think again. Chances are you’re probably not very organised about regularly backing up your computer. This means that if data got deleted you could still be missing weeks or months of work, photos and so on.

Traditional backup measures like external hard drives fail to properly protect your data. Why? Because as a backup method it relies entirely on you remembering to plug it in and copy files to it but because it ignores the possibility of theft, fire and hardware failure.

Whilst we all hope none of these ever happen to us this doesn’t mean we shouldn’t take sensible steps to protect our digital life. This is especially critical if you’re running a business. Whilst none of us would want to lose a lifetime of digital photos we’d ultimately get over it. However to lose business data could result in the complete failure of your business. It is estimated that 30% of businesses that experience extensive data loss go out of business within a year.

So what can be done to safeguard against irreversible data loss?

Fortunately there are several easy solutions available – the two I’ll discuss today (as after extensive testing I think are the best!) are Spideroak and Crashplan.

 

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Both systems provide offsite backup solutions to help you protect your data in a highly secure and easy manner. Getting started is easy. Sign up for a free account. Download the application to all your desktops and laptops, and set it running. Without any manual interference on your part each application will quietly upload all of your vital files, photos, music and other data to their secure data centres. This means all your information is securely stored off site meaning if the worst should happen and your laptop is lost or stolen, your computer experiences a critical hard drive failure or is lost in a fire your data is still safe and can be retrieved at the click of a button.

 

There are other benefits to using Spideroak or Crashplan as well. Both cleverly monitor all the files on your computer and keeps unlimited file versions of each. Let’s say you’re working on a letter. You finish writing it, press save, and pack up for the day. The next day you re-read it and decide to make some changes. A few hours later you really wish you hadn’t altered it! No problem. You can retrieve previous versions of files allowing you to quickly and easily restore the document to a point in time where you were happy with it. Equally you delete a file and then 24 hours later realise you need it. With Spideroak and Crashplan you can download it instantly.

 

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Both Spideroak and Crashplan and pretty similar in their day-to-day functionality. One main ‘headline’ difference is that Spideroak operate what they call a ‘zero knowledge’ service. In other words they guarantee they cannot read any of the information you upload to their servers.

There is a price difference as well. Crashplan offer an unlimited service with regards to the amount of data you can backup for just $5.99 a month. Spideroak are a little more expensive with a 1TB backup plan at $12/month but you can opt for 2GB for free or 30GB for $7. They all offer a free trial allowing you to take their systems for a spin before buying.

Using a data backup facility like Spideroak isn’t just a luxury or something for computer geeks. It’s an absolute necessity and there will come a day where you’ll be very glad you signed up for an account and backed up all your data.

Still not convinced? How much do you pay a month to insure your house, your car, your phone? How much have you spent on extended warranties for electrical items? Now does $6-12 a month to protect your ENTIRE digital life seem so much? Thought not.

You can find out more about Spideroak here and Crashplan here.

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