A recent ClickMillionaires.com member poll shows that 2/3 of our members are using external hard drives as their primary backup strategy.
I always thought it was until a recent incident destroyed my confidence in hard drives.
External Hard Drives are NOT Enough (including a new recommendation for you):
For years I have used a combination of three, four, or even five external hard drives to backup my important data and e-mails. I have never had a completely catastrophic computer failure but there have been many times when I needed to find an older version of a document or retrieve e-mails that had been otherwise deleted.
That all changed when I moved offices recently. Unfortunately when I unpacked my equipment in my new office, one of the hard drives gave off a scary, broken sound that I soon learned was called "the click of death".
Research on Google introduced me to this apparently common phenomenon. The internal mechanism of the hard drive had somehow been damaged even though we had been careful with its transport and the case looked fine.
I couldn't get the hard drive to start at all.
More research online revealed lots of technical support companies that were happy to help try to recover the data. Frustratingly, none of them disclose the price for the service online. After a few phone calls I finally cornered a guy and dragged a price estimate out of him.
Bad News: He said that it would cost $650 to get started by opening the hard drive in a clean room environment, then more for their technicians' time, and that it was typical for these sorts of recovery projects to cost $800-$1000 or more!
More Bad News: His price didn't include costs for shipping the drive back and forth, a replacement drive to transfer the data onto, nor did it include any guarantee that any of the data would be recoverable at all.
Essentially I was looking at probably $1000+ for uncertain results.
Even worse? I don't know what is on the drive! Although I've been pretty good about backing all my files up on multiple hard drives over the years, I never thought to make a list of the contents of each drive.
So I'm looking at this shiny silver paperweight right now as I write this and still (even months later) wondering if it contains simply old e-mails and documents that I have also backed up repeatedly in other places, or is it full of one-of-a-kind photos of my kids and family that can't be replaced at any price?
It's a $1000+ gamble and so far I'm losing no matter which way I turn.
My New PC Backup Service Recommendation
Not surprisingly, I turned to online "cloud storage" services to start backing up my data automatically after this incident. Now I'm still running four separate external hard drives but I also subscribed to an online backup service called Carbonite Online Backup.
Carbonite sweeps my hard drives each day to find the latest document changes and e-mails I've received. Then it automatically uploads them to its secure servers in the cloud to help make sure I have everything backed up.
I've become an affiliate for their service and today I recommend Carbonite to you. It's affordable, easy to set up, and can make a big difference in your business if your current backup strategy fails.
How about you?
Do you have data recovery horror stories like mine?
How have you handled them?
Have you tried Carbonite or other online storage services yet?
Please share your best backup tips below.
Our poll results tell me that other Click Millionaires need to rethink their backup strategies, too!