Creating a Backup Plan with an External Hard Drive

Updated: May 13, 2009

One place you can start with your backup plan is with an external hard drive, which can be used to save important files and directories in a secondary location away from your computer. "I absolutely believe it's very important to have an external hard drive to store pertinent information," says Koenig. But the backup plan shouldn't stop there.

A backup plan is more than just a single method of storing copies of important data; it's a multi-faceted solution that will stand up to the what if's and keep your data protected no matter what. And, yes, even ultra-small companies with just a few employees and computers need to have one. "A business of this size should still spend the time to have a small business continuation plan, including how, when, where and who to back up data. Backing up key documents, customer databases, accounting information can be easily done on a local DVD drive and stored off site. I was at the store over the weekend and saw a 1.5 Terabyte USB drive for $159, so every micro-company should have two. One for local backup, and the other to keep in a place other than the business, like someone's home. Then, the business owner should switch out the drives every week or every day, so the oldest data is very recent in the case of a data catastrophe. It's easy enough to share this drive with all three people, so they should setup an automatic backup program to the networked drive," says Koenig.

Steve Holden, who runs Holden Web, says his solution ensures that he's able to access his data no matter where he is. "Although I run a one-man business I do have a couple of servers, and at the moment I back up my primary system (a laptop) to the servers on a fairly regular basis using Windows Backup (which I hate). I also use external hard disks to back up my home directory, leaving one behind me when I travel and taking one with me to continue backups in case of a laptop disk failure," says Holden.

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