You would think that I’m beating a dead horse with this topic, but it still happens all the time. When someone’s hard drive fails, one of two things always happens.

Scenario 1

You bring me your computer because it won’t boot. It just says “DISK NOT FOUND” on the screen. Through some horrible twist of fate – obviously beset upon you by some vengeful god as punishment for unspeakable atrocities committed in a past life – you have been chosen to suffer the agonizing, soul-crushing metaphorical death of data loss. You go through the 7 steps of grieving, and slowly move on with your life. But a piece of you has died forever. Years or even decades of photos, music, movies, and documents, are lost to the abyss, never to be seen or heard again.

Scenario 2

You bring me your computer because it won’t boot. It just says “DISK NOT FOUND” on the screen. I swap in a new hard drive, restore your data from last night’s backup, and you’re back at full speed by the end of the day.

Which would you rather be? Then why aren’t you backing up your data?! I have laid out in this blog post exactly* what you should be doing.
(*WARNING: In no way do I take any responsibility for anything you do without my direct supervision. Proceed at your own risk.)

Apple Computers – Local Backup

Mac owners have it best when it comes to backing up their data. Time Machine, a program built right into the operating system of your Apple computer, doesn’t require any configuration beyond choosing a backup disk. You have three options when it comes to hardware for Time Machine.

Apple Time Capsule ($278 for 2TB)

Although it’s definitely the most expensive option, Apple Time Capsule is simply the best local backup solution in existence. The unit houses an Airport Extreme, which is also one of the best wireless routers that money can buy (a $200 value). In tandem, Time Machine and Time Capsule back up your data automatically and wirelessly, whenever you are in range. If you use your Apple computer in your home or office almost everyday, Time Capsule is the easiest and most effective option by far.

External Hard Drive ($99 for 2TB)

If you don’t want to shell out three hundred bucks on your backup system, you can get all the benefits of Time Capsule with any ordinary hard drive. The only drawback of not having a Time Capsule is that you have to plug your drive directly into the computer to perform a backup. Once plugged in, however, the backup process is automatic and continuous. If you want a Time Capsule, but just don’t have the cash, get yourself an external hard drive instead.

Portable Hard Drive ($99 for 2TB)

If you don’t have a home base where you do most of your work, then neither of the first two options will work. If you’re never in range of your wireless backup system, or you don’t get back to the office to sync up with your backup drive often enough, then what’s the point? For these road warriors, only a portable hard drive will do. They’re slightly slower and slightly more prone to failure, but they’re portable, they’re pocketable, and they get the job done. Just remember to plug the thing in every night.

Windows Computers – Local Backup

For some unfathomable reason, backing up a Windows computer is the most difficult process of all of your devices. To create a local backup of your Windows computer, you’ll need an external hard drive and a program called CrashPlan. CrashPlan provides free local backup and paid cloud backup, but you’re only going to use the free local backup component. Setting up CrashPlan properly is a very particular process, so call an expert if you’re not confident in what you’re doing.

Apple and/or Windows Computers – Cloud Backup

In addition to a local backup, it is also wise and recommended to maintain a cloud-based back up of your data. BAZINGA! Solutions is an official reseller for Carbonite. Get set up with us, and never worry about your backup ever again. We monitor the status of your data every week and keep your subscriptions up to date.

iOS Devices

iPhone and iPad users can take advantage of iCloud to backup the most important data on their devices. Free space is limited, but more storage is available for an annual fee. Make sure you have the right settings configured.

Android Devices

Much like iCloud, Android device owners can use Google’s backup service to back up their smartphones and tablets to their Gmail accounts.