Back up your Data  

Backups are vitally important and many of us including myself have learnt our lesson the hard way when we’ve lost documents and worst photographs. This usually happens because we’ve forgotten to do the backup or perhaps missed a folder altogether.

Backups are always one of those things you mean to do but never get around to doing. Well there is a simple solution, an automated backup system that will backup all your documents and pictures to a secure area on the Internet. It means you will have one less chore to do or remember.  

The system is a pay for service but gives unlimited amounts of storage and will automatically backup everything to secure cloud storage. This means that if the worst happens, (ie your computer is stolen, the house floods or catches fire) that all your data, documents, pictures are safely backed up away from your home and waiting for you do download them onto a new computer. Carbonite installs a back program on your computer, the backups are encrypted and password protected meaning only you can access them and that they are total secure online.  

To sign up go to the service costs 42 pounds per year. Its still a very good idea to keep backups at home, but it’s better to use an External hard drives or USB memory key’s as these should last longer than optical disks (CD/DVD).

Q. Many of us backup to CD’s and DVD’s at home but how safe are these disks and how long will they last?

A. The answer is not very safe and not very long! The average unbranded CD or DVD disk has an average shelf life of a couple of years, good name branded disk are a bit better at with an average of 5 to 8 years, only professional archival media has a guaranty with an average of 8 to 10 years and only if they are kept cool and dry.

The biggest problem with optical media is the way they are made, the optical coating is applied to the plastic disk, over time this optical coating starts to separate from the plastic disk, meaning the data on the disk becomes unreadable. This can be even more of a problem with Re-writable disks as the ink layer in the disk that makes them re-writable can fade over time.

This is a shockingly short space of time, many of us have printed photographs that are many decades old and to find that our treasured photos on CD only have a life of 5 to 10 years should send shivers down your spine. The best answer is to keep backups in more than one place, use USB memory keys, Use CD/DVD and maybe consider an online backup service.