The cloud based backups are our favorite solution for home users. While there is some trepidation with their use because of privacy standards, they typically offer the best all around solution. They are relatively cheap, they are pretty straight forward to setup, usually they are “set it and forget it” and the storage of your backups is normally redundant.
While there are countless options out there, one of our favorites is Backblaze. Backblaze is super quick to get going and available with a free trial, we really think it’s a far better option for most home users compared to a USB drive. It’s one of the cheaper of the top solutions currently — they provide the most features and have the fewest restrictions.
And for those of you that may be worried about your data being snooped on, if you don’t worry about people reading your credit card bills or other personal information sent via the postal system you have less to worry about with a reputable online backup solution. Security is tighter and your data is less likely to be lost, you’ll be fine.
What if I never backed up and my computer dies?
It’s typically at this point that people have come to the realization that spending a small amount to backup their files wouldn’t have been that bad. While there is still some wizardry that can be done to recover files the chances aren’t that high. The cost to recover those files though can be many times more that what backing up your computer in the first place would have cost.
In the best situation, your hard drive is intact and it was some other component that failed. Typically it’s only a few hours of labor. Technicians can usually connect your drive to another system and copy your important data to an external source.
In other cases there may be some mild corruption of data on the drive, in that cases it can be quite a few hours of labor. There are special utilities that can be run in-house to recover data and then restore it in some manner that make the files readable. Don’t expect this to get 100% of your data back though, a few files might no be recoverable.
Assuming you’re stuck in a pretty bad situation where there has been physical damage or the controller on the drive failed, sending the drive to a lab might be the last hope. Now, if the data isn’t that important you might not need to consider this option. When you hear the prices you’ll understand why. For those that have critical data that’s hard to put a value on (if you are reading this and you consider your data to be “high value” BACKUP YOUR COMPUTER NOW) a clean-room recovery service can likely assist. Expect this to range from $500 to $5,000 for a single drive. If you’ve got a server that runs drives in a RAID array, recovery usually starts around $2,500 and goes up from there.
Backup, backup and then backup
If you read the whole article or you skipped down to see the final word, it’s pretty simple. Spend a few bucks now and get your computer backed up. Get a copy of that backup offsite and make sure you are verifying those backups are good and you can recover data from them if need be.
Backup, then have a backup of that backup. Then if possible backup those backups with an off-site backup