What Backup Solution Is Right for You?

Pictures from Grandma’s 70th Birthday, your checking account transactions, your son’s video project for school, all would be difficult to replace or recreate if anything happened to your laptop or desktop. There are many solutions out there to help protect the valuable information you rely on, but which one is the right one for you?

The first thing you should consider is where you want to store the information? Backup solutions can be implemented inside your home (local) and through third party providers (remote). Local solutions require software that gets installed on your computer and some storage device that you attach to your laptop or desktop. Remote solutions usually involve a company that allows you to transfer your data to them via the Internet. Typically, you would sign up for an account through their website and you would use software on their website that would allow you to select files to backup and schedule times for it to automatically do so.

The benefit of the local solution is that backing up to an attached drive can be done quickly. You can also use the drive to backup more than just your pictures and bank files. You can also back up the software and configurations on your laptop, so if you ever have a full failure of the computer’s hard drive (where all the data is stored and software installed) you could restore the computer to working order. The storage device usually requires an initial investment of about $125 to $500 depending on the amount of data you need to store there. But once setup, there are no additional charges.

When you use a remote backup provider, the initial cost is small, sometimes as little as $4.99/month, but you will continue to pay that amount for as long as you use the service. There are no requirements for you to purchase any storage devices or hardware for your computer. Depending on the number and size of the files you want to backup, and the speed of your internet connection, backups can take a lot longer to complete, than if you were using a local backup. To keep the cost and transfer time down you most likely would not back up the entire contents of your computer, but instead important files. This means that if you have full failure or loss of your computer, time would have to be spent re-installing all your programs before you could restore your files from the website.

People who have large amounts of data they want to backup, or highly customized computer setups, for example, someone who does a lot of picture and movie editing, may want to opt for the local solution. People who only use standard software like Microsoft Office, or only have a few files they want to protect, may want to copy their files to a website.