As anyone who has had the misfortune of losing precious data from their computer system knows, you can never have too many backups. Data loss is preventable if you know how to create backups of your data and keep the data in a safe place. Just how important are backups?

I recall many years ago watching a home on fire as a news helicopter filmed a man running back into the burning home. He came running out from the burning residence and was asked what he was holding in his hands. The man stated he owned a number of dry cleaner businesses in the area, and he was holding his business records he needed for tax purposes.

Over the years I have seen the reactions of people who have lost data on their computers who didn’t bother backing up their stuff. I specifically recall one women’s reaction when I informed her that her email contacts had been lost. She was in tears when I asked her how many contacts she had. I was taken aback when she told me about 10 people were in her contact list. I mentioned that she could call each person and have them send her a message so she could rebuild her address book.

Today, with the advent of cloud storage, we have additional options to help us backup our data. In addition, many of the online backup sources offer free services. I have been using Mozy Online Backup services for the past few years. Mozy offers free service with a 2 GB limit. I store the pictures I have taken of our home and property for insurance purposes online so they can be recovered after a fire or other disaster. Though I also have a copy of these photos on CD, as well as stored in my safe deposit box, having these stored online is just added protection.

This is where I believe that online services are useful. You can store your data online for free and retrieve your files from any computer. Besides having a backup of your precious data, you also have the ability to update and replace the stored information on a regular schedule or a schedule that you chose.

Though I believe that online backups are not a replacement for backing up your data to some type of media, I do believe that it a great way to supplement your backup strategy. Mozy is my supplement, Chris recently wrote about IDrive, which offers a 5 GB free account.

Comments welcome.