File Backup: How I Do It

Jonathan of MyMoneyBlog is having an interesting discussion on online file backup. It seems that while nobody doubts the importance of backing up files periodically, it’s hard to put everybody in the same boat when it comes to how important files should be stored, especially those files that you don’t want anybody else to access. Mentioned in discussion is a company called Mozy, which offers online file backup and users can choose their personal 448-bit key to encrypt their files before uploading to Mozy’s file server.

For me, I never heard of Mozy before and have no idea how they run their business. However, I don’t have a good feeling of storing my personal files in somebody else’s server, even I own the key. True, my personal information is every where, at banks, credit card companies, and phone service providers. But these places at least I consider to be reliable, relatively speaking. For Mozy, nobody even knows how long their will exist, and their reliability and confidentiality are separate issues. I won’t put my file in the hands of a total stranger.

The files I backup include Quicken generated transaction files, saving bonds records, monthly expenses spreadsheets, and other non-financial files such as papers I wrote before, research files, resumes, and some articles I collected, etc. Those are more for record keeping, rather than for security concerns. And here is how I do it:

  • Install two physical hard drives in my computer (not two logical drives on one hard drive), one for system programs and the other for data storage;
  • Save one copy on each disk so even if one crashes, which is likely to be the system disk, I still have another copy on the separate disk;
  • Buy another external hard drive and copy everything I think important in the external drive. This external disk is just for backup so it is off most of the time to prevent any possible damage.

Of course, no place is 100% safe and secure and none of these methods will work if you simply FORGET to backup!

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