It feels like our entire lives are stored on our computer nowadays, from holiday photos, music, personal accounts to work. With hard drives being so large nowadays all it takes is a failure of one drive and you could feasibly loose years with of important information. If it is a physical hard drive failure then recovery could be impossible or extremely expensive if you have to send it to a data recovery specialist.  The best option then is to make sure you backup your data but how do you currently do it on your machine? We have compiled some of the services we use and we would love it if readers provide other techniques they use to protect their data

Google Drive/Dropbox

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Our first line of defence is Google Drive, this is Google's desktop syncing software that comes with 15GB of free storage (including emails). We typically save anything that is light on data but quite important, such as word files, scans, and anything work related. We have dropped DropBox in favour of Google because we love the way Gmail searches through your documents as well as your emails so we don't have to worry about filing things away too neatly. It will also import your docs to Google Docs giving you the ability to work in the cloud with ease.

Google also has several options to bump up the storage for free. If you have a HTC One with Sense 5.5 you should get 25Gb free for 2 years, and if you download the Quick Office App you can claim 10Gb of storage for 2 years too.

CrashPlan

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Crash Plan is possibly the most popular backup solution out there, and for good reason, it is easy, reasonably priced and gives you piece of mind. For $5.99 you can back up unlined amounts of data for 1 PC, this drops down to $3.96 if you buy it for 4 years.

NAS/Server

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Getting a little more technical now. We have opted for a HP MicroServer for our home server which we use for media and work backups. Crashplan can backup to the server as part of their free service and if you have the paid option you are safe in the knowledge that you have 2 backups, 1 offsite and 1 onsite.

RAID

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Next up is RAID. This is not something we actually use personally but it is worth mentioning. It is not technically a backup option, but redundancy, however it can protect you from that dreaded hard drive failure. For RAID 1 you would have 2 hard drives in your PC and 1 would act as an exact copy of the other and the computer reads from both drives simultaneously. Alternative options include RAID 5 which have 1 redundant drive an multiple working drives all appearing as 1 large drive.

Off Site Data Protection

Last up is a business orientated solution for companies that need their data completely secure. Crash Plan is ok for most, but if your business relies on its data to function then downloading all your data could be too time consuming, and in general server backups tend to be onsite meaning they are vulnerable to fires and floods. Therefore it is sometimes important to implement an off site data protection policy where data is backed up then moved off site to ensure it is always secure. This method tends to use old fashioned tape backups but unlike other media they can last years without deteriorating, and store large amounts of data so they are good for businesses wishing to archive large amounts of data

So what data protection techniques do you employ? If you are self employed do you use a profession service or do you implement similar techniques to the above? If you work for a larger company what, if any, data protection techniques do they use?

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