If you have never experienced a hard drive failure, then consider yourself fortunate.  If you have, then you understand how frustrating, emotional and sometimes costly it can be to lose all of your data.  Most people now have a significant amount of data stored on a personal computer including family photos, legal documents, calendars and more.

If you’re a small business owner, making sure that you have your data backed-up is especially important.  Losing customer contacts, forecast data or invoices could cost you thousands.

There are ways to make sure that even if your computer’s memory starts to fail that you won’t lose your memories.

Use an online back-up service – It’s true that these services often come with a monthly or annual service fee, but they are well worth the often minimal expense, especially if you keep any financial data on your computer or you are a frequent traveler.

These services, such as SecurityCoverage Online Backup, often have automatic download features that make it easy to maintain an up-to-date copy of all of your files.  The best of these programs use SSL encryption technology, which offers several layers of identification and encryption to protect your information.

If you are a small business owner, an online service with automatic back-up is definitely worth it.  External hard drives can be damaged and you don’t want to risk losing your most up-to-date information.   For those who travel frequently, online back-up programs often allow you to access your data anywhere you are.  A benefit if your laptop breaks down in the middle of a trip.

Keep software for all of your computer programs togetherWhen you lose the data on your computer, you almost always lose the programs that you had on that computer as well.  If you don’t have the discs for your programs there is often nothing that you can do but buy another copy.  Given how expensive some programs are, it’s a good idea to have these programs at-hand.  Some programs also have digital copies that you can access online.

Use online sites such as Flickr or Shutterfly for photo keepingIf you are only concerned about back-up for your photos, then sites such as Flickr or Shutterfly might be a good, relatively inexpensive option.  Shutterfly.com even lets you send your photos to friends and family and get prints made at major retailers across the country!

Do you currently back-up your data?  Let us know in the comment section of this post.    

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