Offsite backup of my computer files

How important are the files on your computer to you?

Can you afford to lose any of them?  Maybe.

Can you afford to lose all of them? It probably wouldn’t kill you. It’s just data after all.

Are you *willing* to lose all of them? I know *I* am not. Pictures, videos, resumes, taxes, email. All of which I have spent time and effort collecting or creating over the years. Some of it irreplaceable, some of it extraordinarily difficult to reproduce. The tiny investment in time and thought required to secure that investment gives me tremendous peace of mind.

I keep a small external USB drive in a locked location at my office.
About once a quarter I bring this drive home and back up ALL the files that I care about on my computer to it. The drive is easily big enough to hold 50% more data than EVERYTHING on my hard drive now so I don’t need to be overly discriminating in what I choose to back up. Basically anything that is “data” gets backed up. That’s nearly everything in my user folder plus stuff that I’ve deliberately stored outside of that folder for ease of access for other computers on my network (music and a few other items).

Because I’m taking the drive out of my physical control, I use TrueCrypt to create a huge, encrypted volume with a strong password (and some other tricks) to secure the data. Don’t consider your office, or friend’s or parent’s place to be secure just because they are comfortable locations. Stuff can go missing from anywhere. I’d just as soon that the data be useless to whomever takes it should that ever happen.

Using SyncBackSE I already have a profile set up so I don’t have to re-think my backup selections when I do this. Although I will inspect the selections to ensure any new stuff is accommodated.

The backup this morning took just 13 minutes.

This is over and above nightly local backups that my system performs for me automatically to guard against casual mistakes or hard drive failure. An offsite backup’s raison d’etre is to guard against some catastrophic failure – a house fire, theft of your computer, a flood or other natural disaster. Things with a very low likelihood of happening, but with a terribly high cost if they should ever occur. Total cost for me is about 15 minutes every 3 months and about $100 for the drive.

This is cheap insurance.

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