Do you Backup your data? Doesn’t matter if your a Mac or PC, or are still lugging around a Franklin Day Planner, you need to keep an up-to-date backup of your stuff to protect you against hardware failure, theft, or leaving your day planner on the roof of your car and driving off! I remember back in the day, making photo copies of my day planner, just in case of such a catastrophe!(the first time it happened I didn’t have photo copies!) Thankfully today we have many choices for backing up our stuff. On the Mac side of things we have Time Machine, a great built-in-back-up system that backs up everything on your Mac to an external hard drive or Time Capsule. Should you experience a hardware failure on your Mac you can restore your entire system, OS included, with just a few clicks. Over on the PC side your built in backup utility is basically Backup and Restore. You’re able to back up data to an external hard drive, but only data. Backup and Restore does not keep an ongoing system backup. You do have the option of creating System Image, which I recommend doing, but if you ever add software, remember to create an updated System Image so you can restore your system with the most current copy of your programs and stuff. Programs like Acronis True Image can create a daily image of your system and store it to an external hard drive. All of these backup choices require you to be tethered to an external hard drive (or wirelessly using Time Capsule). What happens when your external backup drive fails? Or, you thought you were backing up all this time and your hard drive crashed and when you went to do a restore from your external drive it was empty! Enter the Cloud. Cloud based backups are reliable, safe and secure. In most cases your data is encrypted at your computer before it is stored a cloud server. We recommend Crashplan. With Crashplan you can actually create your own “mini backup cloud” with the ability to back up your stuff to a friends computer over the Internet or say an office computer to your home computer. You can also use their software to create a backup to an external hard drive or usb thumb drive. Best of all, you only pay for Crashplan if you decide to back up to their servers. The benefits are many for using Crashplan servers for your backup. As long as you have an account with them, they will store all of your data FOREVER, meaning, like Time Machine, you can go back and recover files even if you have deleted them from your computer. Recently, a medical office that we service discovered a missing folder on their server. It was mission critical stuff and wasn’t found on their local backups that only went back a week or so. We went to Crashplan, found the folder that was mistakingly deleted 3 weeks prior and restored it in a matter of minutes. Crashplan is also platform neutral, which means it will run on Mac, PC, Android, iOS and even Linux and even Solaris! Check them out at www.crashplan.com There are many other choices such as Dropbox, Google Drive, iCloud, Skydrive and more that offer free (and paid) places to store your stuff in the cloud. We’ll talk about each in a future posting.