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3 Reasons Why Online Backup is Better Than You Thought

3 Reasons Why Online Backup is Better Than You Thought

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    When was the last time you made a backup of your hard drive?

    Take a moment to think about everything you are at risk of losing. Taking a quick look through the contents of my computer’s hard drive, I saw things like pictures, videos, tax information and receipts for online purchases, all of the software I’ve downloaded and configured.

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    Losing all of this information is losing a part of yourself. Going about our daily routines, we rely heavily on the physical hard drives in our computers to stay healthy. Like everything mechanical, it will fail. What are you going to do to help keep the information most important to you safe when disaster strikes?

    As you may have  noticed, over the past few years the price of external storage has plummeted. About 2 years ago, you could have purchased a very portable 250 or 500 GB hard drive for about $100 or so. The low prices of external storage mean you can get a 1 TB external hard drive a little bigger than a pack of playing cards for the same price. But the question is, what has this done to online backup and cloud storage pricing?

    Cloud storage pricing has dropped at an alarming rate over the past few years. The extremely low prices definitely warrant taking a good hard look at online backup options before spending $100 or $200 on an external hard drive that’s bound to fail.

    The best solution for you will be an online backup of some kind. With all of the services available, how do you know what the best option is? Take a look at some of the reasons you will want to use cloud-based storage and some of the options available to you.

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    1. Online backup is easy and automatic.

    Once up and running, online backup doesn’t require you to have a good memory. I know there have been a bunch of times I didn’t remember to plug in my external hard drive when it was time to back up my computer, how about you? The initial backup can take some time to complete. However, once it is complete the backup process is barely noticeable. As you are working, the new information will be seamlessly backed up whether it be something new or a revision of something you have been working on for a while, like your zombie novel.

    2. Less likely to be damaged

    Physically having an external hard drive in your possession leaves it open to all kinds of potential hazards. Some of the hazards might be your fault like stepping on it, dropping it or knocking over your coffee cup on it while a backup is in progress. Other possible ways to damage the external hard drive are a little less your fault. There could be a fire at your house or office that consumes the hard drive. Something all too common would be an electrical surge such as a lightning strike nearby that could damage the hard drive or corrupt the information on it.

    Another very good possibility is the hard drive simply wears out. I’m sure you yourself or you know someone who’s lost all of their important information because the hard drive crashed. Because the servers used for online backup are consistently running, the hard drives are replaced with good regularity. Also many of the servers use what’s called a RAID set up which means your information is redundantly backed up on multiple hard drives. This way if one goes bad, the information is still safe and you don’t see any interruption of service.

    3. Security and peace of mind

    The reputable online backup services offer a great deal of security. They don’t have access to your individual files, they are just providing you with storage space. What’s nice about using an online backup solution is the peace of mind. A huge security benefit is the encryption they use. In most cases, people don’t encrypt their flash drives or larger external hard drives so using an automatic online backup would be added security for most people.

    Another reason storing your information in the cloud is more secure in most cases is because someone isn’t going to break into their server banks and physically take your information out. Unless they are some highly trained espionage team like you’d see on mission impossible, you can rest assured your vacation photos from Niagara Falls will be safe. In fact, many of the data centers are spread out over large distances and there are actually several backups of your information.

    Google Drive

    Google Drive gives you 5 GB of free storage accessible from any computer and most mobile devices through the Google Account you may already be using. Additional space can be purchased if you need more space. For $4.99 a month you can get 100 GB of Google Drive storage. Using the Google Drive Offline app, you can easily sync all of your important information and keep safely online.

    Dropbox

    Dropbox is one of the most well known names in cloud storage. Initially you’ll get 2 GB of storage for free. The space is accessible through pretty much any device connected to the Internet. When used on an Android device, there’s options for automatic picture or video upload. Additional space can be purchased also. 100 GB of dropbox space will run you $9.99 a month.

    Carbonite

    Carbonite is an automatic backup software for your computer. The yearly price of the entry-level service is $59 a year. This $59 gets you unlimited storage space on the Carbonite servers to backup video, audio, photos, documents and even your computer settings. If you need more features, other backup options are available too.

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    Other Options

    Overall, the online backup of information is more secure than it’s ever been. There are a huge plethora of options available not just the 3 listed above and it’s worth looking around for a good online backup solution because these type of backups rely less on human interaction meaning, first and foremost, the backups actually happen. And with all of the security involved in the transmittal and storage of your data, it’s pretty darn safe overall.

    Featured photo credit:  Defect hard disk drive with smoke. Open drive as symbol for data loss. via Shutterstock

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    Last Updated on February 15, 2019

    7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

    7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

    Now that 2011 is well underway and most people have fallen off the bandwagon when it comes to their New Year’s resolutions (myself included), it’s a good time to step back and take an honest look at our habits and the goals that we want to achieve.

    Something that I have learned over the past few years is that if you track something, be it your eating habits, exercise, writing time, work time, etc. you become aware of the reality of the situation. This is why most diet gurus tell you to track what you eat for a week so you have an awareness of the of how you really eat before you start your diet and exercise regimen.

    Tracking daily habits and progress towards goals is another way to see reality and create a way for you clearly review what you have accomplished over a set period of time. Tracking helps motivate you too; if I can make a change in my life and do it once a day for a period of time it makes me more apt to keep doing it.

    So, if you have some goals and habits in mind that need tracked, all you need is a tracking tool. Today we’ll look at 7 different tools to help you keep track of your habits and goals.

    Joe’s Goals

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      Joe’s Goals is a web-based tool that allows users to track their habits and goals in an easy to use interface. Users can add as many goals/habits as they want and also check multiple times per day for those “extra productive days”. Something that is unique about Joe’s Goals is the way that you can keep track of negative habits such as eating out, smoking, etc. This can help you visualize the good things that you are doing as well as the negative things that you are doing in your life.

      Joe’s Goals is free with a subscription version giving you no ads and the “latest version” for $12 a year.

      Daytum

        Daytum

        is an in depth way of counting things that you do during the day and then presenting them to you in many different reports and groups. With Daytum you can add several different items to different custom categories such as work, school, home, etc. to keep track of your habits in each focus area of your life.

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        Daytum is extremely in depth and there are a ton of settings for users to tweak. There is a free version that is pretty standard, but if you want more features and unlimited items and categories you’ll need Daytum Plus which is $4 a month.

        Excel or Numbers

          If you are the spreadsheet number cruncher type and the thought of using someone else’s idea of how you should track your habits turns you off, then creating your own Excel/Numbers/Google spreadsheet is the way to go. Not only do you have pretty much limitless ways to view, enter, and manipulate your goal and habit data, but you have complete control over your stuff and can make it private.

          What’s nice about spreadsheets is you can create reports and can customize your views in any way you see fit. Also, by using Dropbox, you can keep your tracker sheets anywhere you have a connection.

          Evernote

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            I must admit, I am an Evernote junky, mostly because this tool is so ubiquitous. There are several ways you can implement habit/goal tracking with Evernote. You won’t be able to get nifty reports and graphs and such, but you will be able to access your goal tracking anywhere your are, be it iPhone, Android, Mac, PC, or web. With Evernote you pretty much have no excuse for not entering your daily habit and goal information as it is available anywhere.

            Evernote is free with a premium version available.

            Access or Bento

              If you like the idea of creating your own tracker via Excel or Numbers, you may be compelled to get even more creative with database tools like Access for Windows or Bento for Mac. These tools allow you to set up relational databases and even give you the option of setting up custom interfaces to interact with your data. Access is pretty powerful for personal database applications, and using it with other MS products, you can come up with some pretty awesome, in depth analysis and tracking of your habits and goals.

              Bento is extremely powerful and user friendly. Also with Bento you can get the iPhone and iPad app to keep your data anywhere you go.

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              You can check out Access and the Office Suite here and Bento here.

              Analog Bonus: Pen and Paper

              All these digital tools are pretty nifty and have all sorts of bells and whistles, but there are some people out there that still swear by a notebook and pen. Just like using spreadsheets or personal databases, pen and paper gives you ultimate freedom and control when it comes to your set up. It also doesn’t lock you into anyone else’s idea of just how you should track your habits.

              Conclusion

              I can’t necessarily recommend which tool is the best for tracking your personal habits and goals, as all of them have their quirks. What I can do however (yes, it’s a bit of a cop-out) is tell you that the tool to use is whatever works best for you. I personally keep track of my daily habits and personal goals with a combo Evernote for input and then a Google spreadsheet for long-term tracking.

              What this all comes down to is not how or what tool you use, but finding what you are comfortable with and then getting busy with creating lasting habits and accomplishing short- and long-term goals.

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