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Cybermom: Wait A Minute: Back up

Posted by Elisa Taub
Cybermom: Wait A Minute: Back up

by Elizabeth Rodgers

Cybermom is a regular momready column, where each month Elizabeth Rodgers will write about Lifestyle Technology - technology that goes beyond the personal computer and improves the way you live.You know you should, and yet, you don't. No, I'm not talking about essential fatty acids, I'm talking about backing up your data. Imagine this scenario: Your hard drive fails. You haven't backed up your data because A) you were too lazy B) you were too lazy or C) you have been meaning to do it. All of your financials, all of your emails, all of your contacts, all of your digital music and photos are lost forever.

Oh wait! You could pay a company $750 to get that data back. Oh. They say that it actually can't be done. It's gone. Now you have to buy a new hard drive and totally reconfigure your computer and…

It's a nightmare. And it's not if it's going to happen, it's when. You can easily avoid this. There are many ways to backup your data:

- You can get an extra hard drive, put it in your computer, and
transfer the data.

- You can have the extra hard drive external to your computer, or

- You could backup online.


The simplest solution for the external hard drive is the SimpleTech SimpleDrive. The software (StorageSync Backup) leads you through the setup, and once you've backed up the first time, the following backups will go much faster as it will be backing up only what is new or changed since the last time you did it. Some people love Simple Tech, some hate it. You should definitely read the reviews before you buy.

My backup of choice is online backup. No more external hard drives, no more CDs and no more fiddling with backup software. If you have a .mac account, you can get 1 gig of storage for $50 or 3 gigs for $100 for the year.

Another company that backs up online elegantly and less expensively is Mozy. Mozy is an exciting FREE new software that lets you effortlessly, automatically and securely back up your data OFFSITE. The first 2 gigs are free, if you want 30 gigs (that's a lot of space!), it's $5/month.

Here's how it works:
Go to Mozy.com and click on "get mozy free." You will give them your email and create a password. In moments, you will receive an email from Mozy with a link to click. Once you've clicked on the link, you will be walked through a series of easy instructions to get backed up. That's it! If you choose, it can be a continuous backup, so when the software sees that you're not active on the computer, it will backup your data securely because it's encrypted.

The caveat: it's only available for PCs. But Mozy is working on a Mac version. Stay tuned: I'll let you know when it's available.

Elizabeth Rodgers (along with her husband, Jonathon Fishman) is the founder of Ben's Ranch, a personal and small business technology service company. Elizabeth also writes for television and film.

For more info on Ben's Ranch please visit http://www.bensranch.com

If you enjoy the column and would like to receive the monthly Ben’s Ranch newsletter with even more pithy advice, email: lasso@bensranch.com and put “subscribe” in the subject line.