Where should backups be kept?

My house was burgled on Friday. Nobody was hurt, nothing was stolen, the damage was minimal and all in all it was about the best outcome one could hope for, under the circumstances. But it made me consider what might have happened.

As one would expect there's an interesting assortment of equipment in my home that I must acknowledge would have value to some if it were outside my home. But all of that would be fairly easy to replace, whether via insurance reimbursements or simply choosing a newer and better version of this or that piece of hardware. What can not be easily replaced is the immense and growing archive of data; the ones and zeros that make up my digital world are stored here. They're backed up, but the majority of the backups are also kept here and who's to say that with enough time and searching those backups might not find space on Craigslist?

So what to do? Well, first one needs to actually know what one has. Take the time to make sense of what you've archived and backed up. Still have data on floppies? What about Zip cartridges or tapes or any of the other media that has fallen by the wayside? Take the time, now, while you can profit from my misfortune, to assess what you've got, dump what you don't need and centralize the data you want preserved. Will it fit on a single hard drive, a RAID, a NAS? Finally do that filing you've meant to do, collect the data, organize it and get it ready to sit in nice and orderly fashion.

Great! Now archive it onto a nice new hard drive (2TB drives can be had for $150!) and take that drive over to your best friend's house, or maybe your safe deposit box or wherever you feel it's secure and then make a plan for when you'll next swap it with a newer version. Add that date to iCal and keep it!

There's always the chance of disaster; theft, fire, power loss, whatever it might be, but think how much happier you'll be, knowing that at least your history is preserved, somewhere off-site.

Solutions Consulting - 310-838-5224 or benlevy@rockinbeat.com