How Online Backup Works--and Eliminates Worry

  • We’ve all heard horror stories about files being zapped, or hard drives that become corrupted and crash, leaving us with no way to reconstruct hundreds of essential documents. In fact, that’s probably happened to you, too. For years, people backed up their files with an external hard drive. But these had their drawbacks: If there was a natural disaster or fire at the home or office where the hard drive was kept, that too could be gone forever. If you carried around, you could lose it.
  • Help Is Here But online backup takes all the worry away. With online backup, you’re sending your data to an external server, where it is safely stored and available in case disaster strikes. With online backup, you just upload your data to the service you’ve chosen; when you need to download it again (though let’s hope not), you can do that too.
  • Questions You Should Ask Before you choose a service, though, you have to figure out exactly what your needs are. Some things to consider: How much data do you want to upload? How many computers do you want covered? Do you want to upload text documents, photos, and/or music? How much are you willing to spend? And your needs will be sharply different if you’re buying a service for home use or business use.
  • Do Some Comparison Shopping So it’s a good idea to explore the services that are offered by various companies before making your final decision. Is there an extra charge for covering additional computers? Does the company automatically back up open files (i.e. files you’re actually reading or writing when your computer crashes)? How often does it automatically back up your files? Once a day? Once a week? That can make a big difference. Is a U.S.-based support staff available to help you out?
  • No Worries Some services offer free storage, but it’s usually not very much space (2G to 5G). You can store your music on one free site, and your photos on another, but experts say that can be confusing and that it’s better to have your files in one place. If you decide you’re going to pay for bigger storage, ask about the contract – whether you’re committing to a year or even longer. As much as there is to consider, though, basically you’re going to find you’re a lot more at ease about your files when you’ve got a digital backup service.