Data Backup

I’m ALWAYS pounding people to backup. I will continue. BACKUP YOUR STUFF. If you care about it, back it up.

Let’s talk. Yes, I’m talking to you, non-technical friend. You’re a writer, a blogger, not a techie. I get that. Can’t be bothered, I get that. Very busy. You will be even busier when you lose access to your dropbox, or leave your laptop on a train.

Please. Read. Tell your friends.


Here are some things that are NOT backups. Feel free to tweet or Facebook them to shame educate your family.

  • Backing up your laptop to an SD Card in the same laptop is #notabackup
  • Backing up to a hard drive that is 6 inches away from your computer is #notabackup
  • Backing up your Gmail to another Gmail account is #notabackup
  • Backing up your book by copying it to another folder is #notabackup
  • The photos that are still in your camera memory are #notabackup

Do you have any other good examples?


Here’s the rule of three. It’s a long time computer-person rule of thumb that you can apply to your life now. It’s also called the Backup 3-2-1 rule.

  • 3 copies of anything you care about – Two isn’t enough if it’s important.
  • 2 different formats – Example: Dropbox+DVDs or Hard Drive+Memory Stick or CD+Crash Plan, or more
  • 1 off-site backup – If the house burns down, how will you get your memories back?


Simple. Because I care about my work, photos and data and I would be sad if I lost it.

Think about all the times you’ve heard about a friend who has lost everything. A decade of photos. Years of email. It hurts-  just like exercise – because it’s good for you.

Try restoring from a backup to practice. Backups always succeed. It’s restores that fail.


I think at a minimum folks should do this.

  • Have TWO physical backups (hard drive, memory card) with a copy of everything, at least weekly. You can automate this.
  • Backup everything that has data that matters. That means phones, too.
  • Have a cloud backup storage (CrashPlan, DropBox, SkyDrive, something)
  • Don’t trust the cloud. I backup my gmail, too.
  • Rotate the physical backups between your house and somewhere else. I use the safety deposit box. You can use your Mama’s house. Just label one “Backup A” and one “Backup B” and when you visit, swap them.

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