I love all my readers but you guys are collectively a bunch of hard heads. I’ve stated over and over that you must protect your data because it will disappear some day. Do you listen? Nope. Just yesterday, I had to inform a couple that their wedding pictures were irretrievable (they had a couple of framed prints but lost hundreds of others). Gone forever. All because they didn’t take 5 minutes to make a backup. They seemed mad at ME for delivering the bad news. So I had to console them, say “I’m sorry” and bite my tongue and I’m not good at that.
Some hard drive failures aren’t catastrophic and anyone with a bare amount of knowledge can retrieve data. We also have our ways of coaxing data from even the deadest hard drives but you will have to part with at least $600.00 to help pay for some very expensive equipment and vast amount of proprietary knowledge. Not many clients are willing to do that so they express their frustration at me and that ruins my whole day every time. All this could be avoided so easily. It just takes a few minutes to protect your data from this kind of silliness.
Here are some interesting statistics recently revealed by a online backup company that uses thousands of consumer grade hard drives. They documented how long it takes for a typical drive (running 24x7) to fail. Turns out you’re most likely to suffer a hard drive failure in the 1st year and the 4th years with high reliability in between. If a hard drive survives manufacturing defects in the 1st year, it’s pretty reliable up until things start wearing out 3 to 4 years later. In the manufacturing industry, this “slope” in failure rates is called a Bathtub Curve.
So it’s not a matter of “if” but “when” you data goes poof and it’s easy to make backups. One of the most popular set-it-and-forget-it strategies is that offered by www.Carbonite.com. With Carbonite, all your data is backed up to Carbonite-owned computers “out there” on the Cloud. Carbonite is about $60.00 per year. However, over 5 years, that’s $300.00. You can do it yourself for much less by purchasing an external hard drive for under $60.00. You can then use whatever backup software comes with the drive or simply use the backup feature built into Windows and Mac computers.
If your data consists primarily of documents and spreadsheets and perhaps just a few pictures, you can purchase little thumb drives (aka Flash Drives) for under $10. Then you can manually backup your documents or, again, use the built in backup feature of your computer.
If you have a moderate collection of stuff, there are plenty of free online backup services that give you generous amounts of storage for free in hopes that you will upgrade to their larger packages. Check out offerings from www.Bitcasa.com, www.mozy.com, www.UbuntuOne.com, www.backup.comodo.com. Some offer up to 10GB of storage for free. That’s generously awesome and leaves you with no excuse for ruining my day ever again.