A recent Carnegie Mellon study showed that hard drives fail more often than previously thought. All the more reason to make sure you have a recent, reliable backup. In addition to the onsite system you already have in place (you do have an onsite system in place, don't you?), consider one of the following online backup services. They're fast, easy to use, and, most amazing of all, free (though you may need to upgrade to a paid account if you have a lot of data).
- MediaMax True to its name, MediaMax was designed with media files in mind: music, photos, video, and the like--all of which it can stream from the Web. But you can use your 25GB of free storage for backups, too. To that end, the service offers its MediaMax XL client software, which you can configure to back up selected folders at designated times (daily, weekly, etc.). However, the program is limited and buggy, taking some of the shine off the generous helping of storage space. But once your backup is complete, your files are Web-accessible, a nice plus. And did I mention you get 25GB free?
- Mozy A free Mozy account entitles you to 2GB of online storage and a superb set-it-and-forget-it backup utility. The program supports incremental backups, encryption, and bandwidth throttling. Even better, it can automatically find the data most people want to back up, like Outlook databases, Word files, and Internet Explorer favorites. Of course, you can manually select files and folders as well. Mozy can perform backups at scheduled times or on a continuous basis, meaning files are archived as you work. A $4.95/month plan upgrades you to unlimited storage.
- OmniDrive OmniDrive offers a seemingly paltry 1GB of free storage--paid plans start at $40/year for 10GB--but makes backups a simple drag-and-drop affair. That's because it appears in Windows Explorer as just another drive. Thus you can copy files and folders to your OmniDrive account as though it were a hard drive plugged into your machine. This isn't an automated solution, just a simple way to make a fast, on-the-fly backup of some important data.