Monday, September 5, 2011

5 Ways to Back Up Your Data

1. Save it to a NAS Device

A NAS (network attached storage) is a server that’s dedicated for saving data. It can operate either wired or wireless -- depending on the drive and your computer – and, once configured, can display as simply another drive on your computer.
·         Can back up several computers at once
·         Can “set and forget” for automatic backup
·         Pricey

2. Save it to an External or Portable Hard Drive

External and portable hard drives differ from NAS devices in that they connect to one computer at a time. They are usually wired devices, although some have wireless capabilities. Many external and portable drives are now coming with USB 3.0 capabilities, but your computer must also have USB 3.0 to take advantage of this.

·         Easy to use
·         With software, can “set and forget”
·         Hard disk drives run the risk of failure
·         Solid-state drives have less risk but can be expensive for large-capacity drives

3. Burn it to a CD (or DVD or Blue-ray Disc)

Once the gold standard in data backup, burning data to CDs is now a much less popular, albeit still reliable, method of data backup.

·         Drive failure not an issue
·         Can store safely in a second location (safety deposit box, for example)
·         Time consuming
·         Relying on future of CD-capable technology
·         Can get pricey for large amounts of data

4. Keep it Online

The number of locations for storing data “in the cloud”  is growing monthly. Current options include,, and

·         Usually affordable
·         Data secured in a very remote location
·         Capacity limitations
·         Run the risk of site Closing

5. Put it on a USB Flash Drive

USB Flash drives are like tiny solid-state drives that you can carry your pocket. While once expensive and available only in small capacities, their prices are dropping and their sizes rising every day.

·         Affordable
·         Portable
·         Now available in USB 3.0
·         Extremely easy to misplace (not recommended for long-term storage of crucial information because of this risk)
·         Not always durable
·         Capacity limitations