How To Keep Your Home Office Files And Data Safe and Secure

When you work for somebody else it's their problem when data goes missing or gets corrupt. Somebody calls the IT guys and they run a restore from a DAT drive off a server somewhere. Meanwhile you go grab a coffee and goof off with your work buddies during your downtime. Data backup simply isn't your job.

When you work for yourself data backup is not only your job it's one of the single most important jobs you have. Even if it's just emails and your customer lists and few Word documents imagine trying to run your business without it? Not making a backup of your work data is simply asking for the worst kind of trouble.

Bear this chilling thought in mind - 70% of all businesses who suffer serious data loss go out of business within 12 months.

The sad truth is that most people (me included) never consider data backup as a critical task until something bad happens. Define bad? How about 2 GB of data being erased from my Windows desktop by a hacker? By the time I realized the files were being erased it was too late. There wasn't a shred of data left. Six months worth of work gone in less time then it took to drink a cup of coffee. Don't let this happen to you. Oh and it was a program called BackOrifice which was responsible for this particular joke on somebodies part.

So what backup options do you have and which one is best?

This will depend on a couple of factors.

1. How much data do you need to backup?

2. What is your data storage budget?

3. How often do you intend to backup your data?

4. What backup software will you use?

Your data backup options extend from the lowly floppy disk (not recommended under any circumstances by the way) to a small file server setup in your basement or backroom. There's such a wide variety of backup methods out there that it can get confusing at times - especially if you're new to the whole IT aspect of setting up a home office.

use memory stickIf you're looking for a highly portable backup solution then a USB memory stick is ideal. These offer storage of up to 2GB of data and provide a secure, portable method of storage. I currently own 2 USB memory stick - one is 256MB and one is 512MB - perfect for quick backup jobs and dragging those Powerpoint presentations and spreadsheets around with me.

If you want to archive data regularly then a DVD writer would be more suitable. A dual layer drive will allow you to store up to 8.5GB (8,500MB) of data on inexpensive blank DVDs. This is the backup method of choice for many small businesses as it allows you to make copies of your data for safe keeping elsewhere.

hard diskFor the data intensive home office then something like an external USB hard drive is perfect. These drives offer storage capacities of up to 1TB (terabyte) which is 1,000GB of storage (yes really). Only ever buy a USB 2.0 compatible external hard drive as the normal USB 1.0 interface is far too slow for large data backup jobs. If at all possible use a Firewire compatible drive - if your PC supports it of course. Firewire allows for much higher data transfer rates.

The last option is to store your data in another location altogether. With the popularity of broadband this means you can upload the files from your home computer to a online file backup service for safe keeping. If you're looking for massive storage capacity then this option can be quite expensive. For mission critical files it is always a great idea to keep them stored away from your home or office.

What kind of backup software do you need? Windows has its own backup software included and has had for years. Apple Mac users can take advantage of Apples backup software and iDisk backup service. Alternatively you could also use a third party piece of software like the excellent Winbackup package or something along those lines. has these important issues covered so you can make the right data backup decisions:

Online file backups
Learn more about keeping a remote copy of your data.

What is a DAT drive?
What are DAT tapes and drives and how do they work?

Backing up your files to DVD
DVD drives still offer a cost effective way of backing up your data.

Choosing the right computer backup software
Having the right backup software is as important as any other aspect of data backup.

Backing up your data to CD
If you're not worried about backing up any more than 770MB of files then CDR might just be perfect for you?

Thinking about buying an external hard drive?
External hard drives offer cheap high capacity storage for home office computer users.

What is Firewire?
A closer look at the technology behind Firewire and it's application in data backup solutions.

Mozy unlimited online file backup
If you're still searching for a reliable, fast and cheap online backup service then check out Mozy.

RAID - Redundant Array Of Indepdent Disks
There was a time when RAID was only used by super geeks - those days have come and gone.

Tape Drives - mass data storage
Tape drives are still used by many companies for company wide data backup.

What is SCSI?
Learn more about what was the bleeding edge in hard drive techology.

Floppy disks... are you crazy?
Maybe you are still using floppy disks in your compuster backups? Really?

IDE - Integrated Drive Electronics
One of the most popular types of hard drive technologies.

The Zip drive - ahhh memories
The groundbreaking Zip drive still has a soft spot in many computer users hearts.

USB - Universal Serial Bus Explained
The most common computer interface in the world - learn more about it.

SATA is here - should you be using it?
Superfast hard drives - do you need them?

Need tape backup capacity but don't want the headaches?

USB Flash memory drives
The replacement for the floppy drive has finally arrived. All Hail the USB flash drive.