I have lost count how many customers I see that have lost their data. Basically, data and files loss due to hardware failure, mainly hard drives and to a less extent USB sticks. Then they come crying about the family photos or business files or MYOB database, etc. The solution is super simple backup your damn hard drive, backup your important files.
Backing up your files is a very simple process and saves you thousands of dollars in data recovery cost. And no do not back on a USB stick or USB hard drive those can also fail. We tend to love set and forget so here I will list some solutions and will tell you which one I prefer.
Backup Files Options
1- External USB stick.
Being the cheapest option $20 - $80, this is a no no... these stick have more failure rates than hard drives.
2- External USB hard drive.
Still cheap $70 - $120 This is not a bad option however I will stay away from it. This option will protect your data if you get hit with a virus or local hard drive failure, however it will not protect you if the external USB hard drive fails which is very common.
3- RAID External NAS (Network Attached Storage).
Not very cheap $200 - $2000 depends on how many hard drive bays and brand. However a good option for redundancy. This box with 2 or more hard drives that can be set as RAID (redundant array of independent disks). RAID 1 technology will mirror your hard drives (if you have 2 drives) so every file is written on 2 hard drives automatically. RAID 5 technology will distribute your data over 3+ hard drives. For a home user I recommend using RAID 1. Most RAID boxes / NAS are sold without hard drives and you will have to buy separate.
4- CLOUD BACKUP, Dropbox, iCloud, One drive etc...
These are the most affordable backup solutions (Free up to 5GB or $100 / year for 1TB). This is the simplest solution. You download a little program on your laptop which allows authentication with the cloud. Automatically, this program creates a folder, a copy of your hard drive. You save all your "critical" data in this folder and it automatically syncs with the cloud. Your data is now safe, nothing else needs to be done. Even if somebody walks into your home and picks up your device and you never see it again. Your data is still safe in the cloud. This is the set and forget option.How safe is your data on the cloud? I am sure Dropbox, Apple and Microsoft have much better data security than what we all have at our homes.