If you don’t already have a backup solution in place for your home computers, then it is time to rectify that problem. I went for some time without a proper backup solution and was nearly bitten by data loss, but I lucked out and was able to recover the data. From that point on, I backed up to an external drive weekly.

However, on-site external backups are not enough. If that external drive were to fail coincidentally with a computer hard drive failure, I would lose all of my data. While the odds of that are small, the odds that a home catastrophe could destroy both are pretty good. So, an off-site backup solution was needed. I started using Mozy for my home computer cloud backup solution.

After a short while, I switched to Spideroak because they had a better encryption scheme, better de-duplication, and better versioning of files. Then I decided that I should really look at backing up all of my family’s home computers as several relatives were storing lots of photos and videos, but had no backup in place whatsoever.

Since Spideroak has pricing based on storage used, backing up my entire family’s hard drives was going to be cost prohibitive. Until I found the CrashPlan+ Family Unlimited plan which I tested for several months on my own computer and finally switched when it proved to be a reliable service.

With all that said, if you do one thing today, at the very least go grab a copy of CrashPlan and install it on your computer. While their cloud service costs a monthly fee, the base software that allows you to backup your system is free. But really, for a couple of dollars per month, you can have all of your important data encrypted and backed up to a secure, off-site location.

You don’t have to use CrashPlan either (although they are giving away a CrashPlan+ Personal plan for a year via Twitter contest today). I only recommend them because I’ve found them to be excellent. I now have all of my family’s computers backing up in real-time to the CrashPlan+ cloud. I receive weekly reports so I know that everyone is 100% backed up, and if they aren’t, I also receive e-mail alerts so I can fix it.

Remember, if your data doesn’t exist in at least three places, it doesn’t exist. And for those of you who already backup your data? Congratulations. Now, when was the last time you tested a restore of that data?

Be well.