Backing Up Your Computer Is Important

by Donna McCollum

The first big job for Morgan Oil Company in Nacogdoches is to restore computer files lost in a fire that destroyed its business office. The company backed up its records on a monthly basis. November files weren't backed up at the time of the fire.

This sends a reminder to any computer user that it's important to back up your information frequently.

AlphaTech Solutions is in the business of solving computer problems. Tim Lewallen knows most computer users don't value what they store on their computer until it's lost. "They think about the money required to purchase the hardware and the software, and they don't really think about the value of the information that's stored on those machines."

Lewallen says the easiest backup is external hardware containing specialized software. "You just tell the software what files you want to back up or what folders you want to back up and it handles it automatically." Units cost from $150 to $400. That's affordable for a small business, or even to use at home to store all those digital family pictures.

"So, it's not that hard to back up to an external hard drive and keep that drive at a friend's house or keep it at your office," said Lewallen.

Computer experts say you should avoid floppy disks as a backup. They're not reliable. CDs and DVDs are all right for storage, but only for up to a year.

A handy storage system is a thumbdrive explained Lewallen. "You can store about anything you want to on it. [You can store] documents, you can store pictures, you can store movies, you can store musical files -- things like that."

Then there are Internet backups. They're popular with medical, insurance, and financial businesses required by law to back up information. For a fee, you forward your valuable records to a third party, and everything gets done.