This article has nothing to do with privacy. However, having backup copies of all your important documents, pictures, videos and other items is a must for everyone. I will suggest that having backups of your important data can be a lifesaver.
I believe that everyone should have a MINIMUM of three copies of every digital file that is important: the original file stored in the computer’s hard drive, plus a copy of that file stored on a backup device (hard drive, flashdrive, CD-ROM disk, or whatever you choose) that is stored near the computer for convenience, PLUS AN ADDITIONAL copy or two, stored off-site where the copies will be safe from in-home disasters, such as fire, flood, or burst water pipes.
Three copies are a barebones MINIMUM. For safety, I would recommend even more copies be kept in more locations. Luckily, that is easy to do.
The popular method of making off-site copies of important files is to use a file storage service “in the cloud.” Examples include Dropbox, SugarSync, Google Drive, Apple iCloud, Amazon S3, Amazon Glacier, Box.com, Microsoft OneDrive, Amazon Cloud Drive, and numerous others.
Of course, it is questionable if anyone can really depend on any one of these services. Any of the companies might have hardware or software difficulties that result in the loss of your data. Other possibilities include bankruptcy, a change in business services, or even a file storage service being bought out by a larger corporation that decides to change the services offered. In short, you do not want to place all your backup eggs in one (cloud-based) basket. Fortunately, you can easily “distribute your eggs amongst multiple baskets,” thereby minimizing the risks.
I would suggest that you keep copies of important files on MULTIPLE cloud-based services. Any one online service might disappear at any time due to any of the earlier mentioned reasons, but the odds of two or more of them becoming unavailable at the same time are slim. Using three, four, or more online services to store all of your important files reduces the risk even further. I keep one backup copy on media stored near my computer plus a backup copy on Dropbox plus a backup copy on Google Drive plus a backup copy on Microsoft OneDrive plus a backup copy on… Well, you get the idea: I keep backup copies in multiple locations in case one or two of those copies disappear unexpectedly.
L.O.C.K.S.S. is an abbreviation that stands for “Lots Of Copies Keep Stuff Safe.” It should also be every computer owner’s mantra.
Making backups to multiple online services can be awkward and tedious. Do you really want to take the time to copy each file to each of these services? Luckily, you don’t have to manually make separate backups to each and every online service. One low-cost service will automatically copy files from any one online file storage service to others, as you specify. It will even do that while you are sleeping.
cloudHQ (always with a small letter “c”) is an online service that will copy files to and from Google Drive, Dropbox, Microsoft OneDrive, OneDrive Pro, Gmail, Yandex Disk, SugarSync, Evernote, Box, Egnyte, Salesforce, SharePoint, and even to WebDAV (a method of creating logical disk drives in other computers). Making copies is done automatically by CloudHQ’s servers without human involvement. In fact, you can turn your computer off, and CloudHQ will continue to copy your saved files from one online storage service to the other online storage services that you specify. Obviously, you do need to have an account established on each of the online services you wish to use.
I now have my computer configured to automatically copy all my documents, pictures, videos, genealogy databases, email messages, and more to Dropbox. Every few minutes, cloudHQ then copies all newly-added items from Dropbox to Dropbox and to Amazon S3. In addition, all my Gmail messages are automatically copied to Dropbox and then, a few minutes later, those messages are also copied to Amazon S3. As if that wasn’t enough, all my notes in Evernote are automatically copied to Dropbox and then, a few minutes later, those notes are also copied to Amazon S3.
All this is in addition to the local backups I make to a portable hard drive sitting beside my computer that is plugged directly into one of the computer’s USB connectors. Do you think my files are well protected?
cloudHQ is a commercial service that charges modest fees for copying the files. However, a FREE 15-day trial is offered that provides the opportunity to try CloudHQ for a while without payment. If you decide to keep the service, the charge is $9.90 a month. After using the free trial for a few days, I took advantage of an available discount and paid for one year’s service.
cloudHQ’s lowest-priced service will copy UNLIMITED files from one online service to one or two other online services. Additional services can be used at higher prices although I suspect that option will appeal primarily to businesses, not to consumers. All pricing details may be found at https://www.cloudhq.net/dropbox/prices.
cloudHQ also has a chrome extension which enables Gmail users to share gmail labels. The chrome extension is available at: https://goo.gl/UfR4hz and a short video explaining how it works is available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ivGlB8OQp3E.
In my opinion, cloudHQ provides insurance at a modest fee. It saves additional copies of your important files in more and more locations, as you specify. Yes, having a backup copy saved someplace is a good idea. Having two backup copies stored in two different locations is a far better idea. Having three, four, or more copies stored in various locations is better still. cloudHQ easily provides that service.
About once a month, some newsletter reader sends me a message similar to this:
“I had a hard drive crash (or my laptop was stolen or my grandchild erased everything) and all my genealogy research for the past 20 years was on that computer. I lost everything. What should I do?”
I have no easy answer to that question. Indeed, it is obvious what the person SHOULD have done prior to the loss, but there is no easy answer after the fact for the person who did not make regular backup copies. However, the entire problem is easily preventable. Think of it as insurance: you might never need it, but a bit of insurance prepares you for the possible future event when you might have to depend upon it.
Use of any one of the online file storage services provides insurance. Use of two or more online file storage services is even better. Using cloudHQ to make copies to multiple online services simply ensures that the job gets done on a steady basis, whether or not you think of it.
You can learn more about cloudHQ at https://www.cloudhq.net.