Tech Expert: Protect Your Data Before It’s Too Late

We are very proud to present the first article from our Tech Expert, Lauren Halagarda, CPO! Stay tuned for more great info that will help you navigate through the digital realm!

Protect Your Data Before It’s Too Late

By Lauren Halagarda, CPO®

Is your precious data protected? It doesn’t matter whether you define “precious data” as business financial records and policy & procedures or personal photos and music. Anecdotal evidence suggests that a hard drive crashes every 15 seconds and 1 in 5 computers suffer a fatal hard drive crash during their lifetime. You can find a more statistics about data loss here, here and here. You could lose your data due to a natural disaster but it’s more likely to be hardware failure or human error. And I speak from experience, four months after I purchased an external hard drive last summer, it failed. The manufacturer replaced the external hard drive at no cost to me but they offered zero-nada-nothing in terms of data recovery or backup. Thankfully, I had everything backed up. So, what’s your backup plan?

I highly recommend signing up for an online backup service. For a small monthly fee, you can have your computer files automatically backed up off-site. It’s super-easy (especially considering the alternative.) Here are some things to consider when comparing services:
• Is the company well-established?
• Does the service work with your operating system?
• Is it easy to setup?
• How easy is the process for restoring data?
• How many computers/drives do you need to back up?
• Does the service meet your needs for backing up an external hard drive or networked drives?
• What are their policies re: file size?
• What are the costs?

Two of the most popular choices for online backup services as of this writing are Carbonite and Mozy. These choices solely focus on online backup rather than file sharing and synchronization between computers. That’s a post for another day. I personally have been using Carbonite and just renewed my annual subscription but consider the services pretty comparable. As a Professional Organizer, I love lists so I thought I would share my basic comparison of Mozy and Carbonite online backup services:

Function Carbonite Carbonite Pro Mozy Home Mozy Pro
Windows/Mac X X X X
Remote Access To Files X X X X
File Versioning X X
Mobile App X X
Trial/Free Service 15 day trial 30 day trial 2 GB back up for free None
Cost $54.95 / year unlimited back up (~$4.58 / month) Plans start at $20 / month for 20GB $4.95 / month unlimited back up ($59.40 / month) Desktop Licenses: $3.95 + $0.50/GB per month;
Server Licenses: $6.95 + $0.50/GB per month
Backup for external Hard Drives No* Yes Yes Yes

*You may have heard that it’s possible to back up an external hard drive with the standard version; there are methods of tricking the software. Consider that there is no guarantee or support for an external hard drive if you choose to do so.

Here are few additional points to keep in mind. If you’re unsure, ask a friend about their online backup experience, but take it with a grain of salt. I’ve heard people say that a service was really slow but upon digging deeper, found out that the user was backing up her entire hard drive including program files. Keep in mind that it could take several days for the initial back up to complete with any service and you may not want to back up system files if you have the installation files or program keys. I haven’t had the need for technical support, but I’ve heard that both companies are lacking in this department. Finally, if you create a new folder, be sure to check its backup settings. Take some responsibility for reviewing the settings and learning how to verify which files are being backed up. Online backup services may be automatic in that they’ll detect when files are updated and backup the changes but they’re not “automagic” and can’t read your mind. 😉

Please feel free to leave any questions about online backup services in the comments section. And since I’m new to, I welcome you to leave a comment on how I can help you make your life easier using technology. What do you need help with? What do you want to know more about in future posts?

**Disclaimer: I have no relationship with either company, other than the fact that I am a regular paying customer of Carbonite.

Lauren Halagarda, CPO® is a technology translator, efficiency innovator and tamer of information overload. Her business, The Organization Connection, works with dynamic & innovative women entrepreneurs both in the Washington, DC Metro area and virtually throughout the world to help their lives run smoother using technology. Lauren is passionate about helping women entrepreneurs detox their inboxes and regain control of their information and never-ending to-do lists. To learn more, please visit: