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Backing Up To The Web

With the recent spate of natural disasters, evacuations, etc my mind has turned to protection of your most valued documents and being able to source them from elsewhere if evacuated or if the originals have been destroyed. With this thought in mind I’d like to discuss a few simple tips that can help. Disaster experts recommend we have a “72-Hour Pack” that contains food, clothes, torch etc that we can grab as we walk out the door, but what about key documents, photos, contacts, etc.

 

Its very easy to transfer a document from home to cyberspace. Geeks call this “Backing up to the Cloud”. If you have the document on your computer already, like a flight reservation, a hotel booking, etc, an easy way is to email it to a “Hotmail, GMail or Yahoo” mailbox that can be accessed anywhere in the world. For other key documents like your passport, drivers license, will, insurance policies, etc, I recommend that you go to Officeworks, if necessary, as they have high speed scanners in the photo processing department that would allow you to scan any documents or photos very quickly and easily. You can then transfer them to your online “document store” or just email them to yourself.

 

In terms of general backups there are quite a few free storage sites on the internet. If you google “Free web storage sites 2011” you will see many available. Here are two examples;  1) Dropbox. www.dropbox.com. You get 2GB of storage forfree. 2GB is roughly equivalent to 250,000 text emails, or 300 songs, or 250pictures.

2) Microsoft also have Windows Live Skydrive (http://explore.live.com/windows-live-skydrive). Skydrive offers an amazing 25 GB of online storage. It requires a Microsoft Live ID to sign in to synch files across multiple computers and the cloud. Its easy-to-use interface, large amount of storage and complete compatibility with Windows OS make this an excellent choice for Windows users.

 

Of course there are quite a few “paid” sites as well that give you 20-50Gb of storage for just a few dollars per month.

 

Regular readers of this News column would have noted my past advise to users to “back-up” their computers, and backup to the web for free makes that easy. I also hope you’ll consider archiving key documents to “disaster proof” yourself as best you can.