I know we’re already ankle deep into July, but did you know that June was Backup Awareness Month? OK, so it’s a trumped-up marketing ploy by Maxtor and Seagate, but cynicism aside, it’s a good way to promote the concept of PC and Mac data backups.

As an IT professional, every month is backup awareness month for me. Don’t believe me, check out my Acronis TrueImage files and EMC Retrospect logs. Short of storing my data offsite, I’ve got a pretty robust backup strategy in place for the PCs in my home office.

Now I know backups are pretty much a “beating a dead horse” topic in Lockergnome… or maybe it’s a “goes without saying” topic. If you subscribe to the IT Professionals channel, you most likely have some kind of backup process for your vital data. If you don’t, then you should, but not before you hang your head in shame. Because as the saying goes, “it’s not a matter of if your hard drive will fail, but when.” And there are a multitude of other reasons to back up data beyond drive failures.

Backup processes are very personal and subjective, meaning that for each one of us, we might use different tools and strategies. But the goal is the same… to safeguard your data by having up-to-date backup copies. And with the explosion of digital media these days, the amount of stuff needing to be backed up is skyrocketing. six-megapixel digital photos, MP3s, videos, not to mention lowly Word, Excel, and PowerPoint docs. And let’s not forget e-mail. My aggregate storage capacity at home (across all my PCs) easily exceeds a terabyte, although the data I truly need to back up is a fraction of that.

We are often the first people consulted when somebody’s PC or Mac craps out and their data becomes inaccessible. Isn’t that one of the curses of our profession, to have somebody come up to you and tell their tale of woe, then you ask them the million dollar question: “Is your data backed up?” Whether it’s due to a blown OS or a true drive crash is irrelevant, the point is that they can’t get to their stuff. Ever see a teenager lose their iTunes library? It’s not a pretty sight. Or somebody running a business from their home lose their QuickBooks data? Even worse.

You don’t need to spend a fortune, either. External hard drives are dirt cheap, and many come bundled with backup software and hardware features to automate the process. Have an old PC sitting around that’s too slow to run your apps, but otherwise healthy? Network it and back up your files to it. Get one of the many excellent shareware backup tools out there at little or no cost. One of the slicker approaches, in my opinion, is to use the networkable storage devices… because they can be used to back up multiple PCs. On the high end of the scale are appliance-based solutions like the Mirra personal server, which continuously backs up your data.

These days, there are few excuses not to back up your data. Don’t let ignorance or complacency be one of them. And remember to remind your customers, family members, and friends that if they’d be “lost without it”… that it needs to be backed up.

Now if I could only get that little dittie from NBC’s “The More You Know” public service announcements out of my head.

[tags]maxtor,backup,seagate,data storage,back up,data save,backup awareness month[/tags]