Our data is everywhere! There is the data on your PC, laptop, netbook, phone, PDA, Media Center, onlineâ€¦ you get the idea. Just thinking about putting a backup system in place can cause a serious headache, but even worse is the prospect of losing that data. This short guide is designed to help walk you through theÂ process of creating a backup system that you actually will use.
First, you need to answer the following question: What would be the worst case scenario if I lost all of my digital data? If you donâ€™t like the answer, you now have the motivation you need to continue this exercise.
Now that you have determined the purpose and established some motivation, we next need to figure out where all the data you care about is located and what to do with it.
Now, you will brain storm and discover all the places where you have data that is important to you. Use a spreadsheet (you will build on it later) to capture this information and then use the following memory jog list to discover all the locations where your data lives.
Memory Jog List:
- Emails: All of the places where you check email.
- Contacts: Both the contacts on your PIM (e.g. Outlook) and on mobile devices such as your phone or PDA.
- Calendars: Every place where you store calendar information. (I recommend you use one master calendar)
- Tasks, Project Information: Both your own personal task lists and those where you collaborate with others.
- Documents and Notes: All of the documents that are stored locally, plus those that you may have saved online.
- Bookmarks: If you are using Firefox, check out www.foxmarks.com.
- Online Services: Do you use any online services where you have an account? (e.g. Google Docs, FaceBook, Live.com) [are these stored locally?]
- Application Files: If you use software applications, such as Photoshop, you may have files related to those programs on your computer. You should also back up your application disks.
- Video Games: Any saved game data files and the game disks.
- Multimedia: All of your music, photos and videos.
For mobile devices such as your PDA or phone, I suggest you backup to your PC. Then your PDA and/or Phone data gets backed up with your PC.
For data at home such as on your PCâ€™s, iTunes Library and X-Box 360, the solution is rather simple. You can use a centralized backup solution that is automated. This type of solution plugs into your home network independent of any computer and is a central place to store backed up data as well as other files you wish to share. Western Digital has a home centralized backup solution that is able to take care of all your backup needs easily. Plus, their software allows for remote access, so you can backup even when you are on the road.
As additional piece of mind I also suggest that you use an online backup solution like Mozy.com on a monthly basis. By adding an automated monthly online backup you protect your data in case of a disaster at home.
SHARE WITH US YOUR BACKUP PLAN
I hope this post has motivated you to put together your own backup plan that makes it fairly painless to execute.
Have you already mastered the art of backup? Did you find any cases where you could not backup? Please share your backup stories with us in the comments.