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Do You Back Up Your Financial Data?

Taxes, spreadsheets, budgets, money files… Is your computer command central for your financial life? When was the last time you backed up your data?

Data Loss Statistics [1] reveal that “More than 22 percent [of computer users surveyed] said backing up information is on their to-do list, but they seldom do it” and “nine percent admitted they have never backed up their files.”

The Cost of Lost Data [2] illustrates the causes of data loss reminding us of the importance of data backups:

Our Old Storage

I used to make a copy of important files and burn a CD to put in our safe deposit box yearly. However, I got a little lazy and the newest copy is probably a few years old. My husband also set up mirrored hard drives (RAID 1).

This seemed sufficient until I heard a story from a friend about a family who lost all their pictures of their children when their computer failed. I realized that not only do we have very important financial data, but also priceless pictures of our children since we’ve gone to a digital camera.

Looking for an Inexpensive Solution?

Store data offsite using Amazon S3 [3], an online web storage service. Storing data on site (in your home or business using tape, CD, USB, NAS backup) doesn’t protect you from loss due to theft, fire or other natural disasters.

We backed up over 2 GB of photos, financial documents and other important files offsite for less than $1 per month. This includes weekly incremental backups of about 100 MB. Amazon provides a calculator to estimate your pricing [4].

The software we use to perform the backup is Jungle Disk [5]. Software is free to try for 30 days, purchase for $20. From their website:

  • No monthly subscription fee, no startup fee, no commitment
  • Your data is fully encrypted at all times
  • Data is stored at multiple Amazon.com datacenters around the country for high availability
  • Access files directly from Windows Explorer, Mac OSX Finder, and Linux
  • Automatically backup your important files quickly and easily

Action Plan

I can sleep much better at night knowing that our financial documents and other important personal files can be recovered should we have a data loss.

Are you backing up your files? How often and by what method?