I got another message today from someone who has lost files due to hardware malfunction. That makes the sixth person in the last two weeks. Seems that as fast as I can get people using proper backup, other people’s machines are failing.
To that end, let’s review the 3-2-1 backup strategy. This, at least, should be followed for all of your important files and documents. And by important I mean anything you care at all about losing.
3 – Your important files should exist in three different places. This could be your computer, your spouses computer, an external drive, a burned DVD, a remote backup, a friend’s house, whatever. Just three distinct copies of the files.
2 – Those files should be on at least two different types of media. Media can be hard drive, DVD, memory card or stick, or even original paper or film.
1 – At least one of those copies should be maintained off-site. That is away from the site of the original. Preferably in a different city or state. Think about common natural disasters. Off-site should be out of reach of those natural disasters.
An external hard drive is excellent for one of your backups. Time Machine on the Mac makes this a no-brainer, and there are some good software packages for Windows, such as Acronis True Image. Drive space has come way down in price, and an external drive is easy to pickup and take with you in case of emergency. An external drive such as the Western Digital Passport 1 TB USB 3.0 Portable Hard Drive is a great choice. Western Digital drives are solid and dependable and they have a good company backing them up. Now is not the time to try to find the cheapest thing you can – unless you want to regret that decision later when there is a failure.