"Backup Media's - Where to Backup Your Data Files?"

The backup media here refer to the types of device that can be used to backup the data.

You have several choices but the ideal choice is to store a copy of all your important files in a different location to where your computer is situated.

At the very least, keep your copy in a different location in your home. If possible, keep your backup copy in an entirely different building. Below are few alternatives of backup media that you may choose to backup onto, and each has their own advantages and disadvantages:

(1) Flash drive / Handy drive / Thumb drive / Pen drive

For pure convenience there's nothing easier than making relatively small capacity backups to a USB flash drive or memory stick that you can easily plug in, and then transfer to another location.

However, this is definitely not suitable for long-term backup and the amount of data that you can backup is limited to few gigabytes. Also, using this kind of backup devices is quite dangerous as it's easy to get spoilt and infected by viruses since the possibilities that you will always plug from one computer to another.

So, flash drive can be a short-term backup media and not for long-term.

(2) CD-R / CD-RW / DVD-R / DVD-RW (- or +) disc

If you're a personal computer user the most immediate backup media you're probably going to consider is to backup to CD-R/W or DVD-R/W disc. The discs offer more space compares to the flash drives and the data in it generally last longer.

If you have a relatively small amount of data to store, one or more CD-Rs might be adequate, but when you need more than four or five CDs to make a complete backup, you should move to DVDs or some other medium that takes less time to record and doesn't force you to juggle a lot of separate disks.

Also, you need a DVD-RW drive and a burning program installed in your computer in order to write your data to the CD/DVD disc. You may need many discs to backup all your data so it requires your intervention to replace the new media.

(3) USB / Mobile / External HDD - Another partition or another HDD

If you have lots of data files to backup, using a USB HDD as your backup media or a second computer connected to yours through a network provide an instant large capacity space for your backups.

With external HDD, backup process can automatically run without your intervention and this will save you a great deal of time over the long run. Also, it's very flexible as you can easily carry away and simply plug in to the USB port and start backups immediately.

So, either CD/DVD or HDD is more suitable and reliable backup media and depending on your backup files size. The smaller file sizes can go for CD/DVD while with larger files, you need to have the hard drive to do the backup.

Where to Keep the Backup Copies?

The point of making backups is to have copies of important files after your computer is damaged, lost, or stolen. That is why others choose to backup their data onto remote servers via File Transfer Protocol (FTP) or use the services of off-site backup over the Internet.

The off-site copies might be located in another branch office, at home or using the online storage services. However, once you transfer that data to a third party to keep safe, new risks involving the potential compromise of that services' availability and security arise.

The best approach is to keep two sets of backup data, one near your computer and the other in a secure off-site location. Here I suggest some off-site online backup options:

1) Pay online storage - Amazon S3 (Simple Storage Service)
Imagine you can store 1GB (1024MB) of any files for just 15 cents! Yes, that is 15 cents per Gigabyte, no joining fee, no upfront fee, and no limit on the number of stored files. You simply pay for what you use.

2) Free online storage - box.net
There are plenty of free online storage sites, but this site is reliable and easy to use. Your stored data can be protected or shared to others.

3) Free or/and Pay online backup service - mozy.com
With free account, you can get 2 GB free space! No setup fee, no expiration, and no hassle. An account for $4.95 per month, you get unlimited storage backup space.

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