The post on the blog today is about backing up your computer/data. Here are some tips.
Encrypt any important data (especially financial data!
). True Crypt (http://truecrypt.org
) is free and works on Windows, Mac and Linux.
Compressing the data can make it easier to store. 7-Zip is one of the best out there, it's also free: http://www.7-zip.org/
Password protect anything you can (Excel Documents, 7zip, etc). By themselves they aren't ultra secure, but every bit helps. Password Protection + Encryption.
Duplicate your data. Flash drives are cheap. Make sure you back up to more then one location. Rotate them so you have more than one copy from more than one time period.
Store your data off site. Put a flash drive (encrypted of course) at your relatives house (or in bank deposit box). If your house burns down, you'll still have your financial and insurance information which would be critical in that type of event.
Automate it. Do it every day at a specific time. Just swap out the flash drives when you have your coffee in the morning. Also manually back it up if you make any big changes.
Put a flash drive with your will and also include the password in your will. If you die, it would be good for your loved ones to have all your financial information so they don't have to spend hours hunting all your account information down.
Whatever software you use to back up, make sure you can recover it! Test out your recovery method and *make sure it works*. I once helped a guy recover his data. He backed everything up in a Win3.1 program. Once his Win 3.1 workstation died he upgrade to Win 95 and couldn't find the program he used to backup and was unable to restore his data (luckily some detective work allowed me to find the file format it was saved in and recover it that way). Another quick story was about a SA that was backing up all the company data to tape. The tapes were corrupt and he wasn't able to recover any data. This could of been avoided if he would of tested his recover method before he really needed it.
If you don't mind spending some time learning it, there are two programs (again free): Robocopy (windows) and rsync (linux/mac). This lets you quickly backup your data since it only copies over files that have changed.
Other useful [but more advanced] software would be a Revision control system (svn, perforce, etc). This lets you keep revisions of documents so you can "go back in time" and see every change you've ever made.