A couple of weeks ago I wrote about Network Attached Storage (NAS) devices as a tool to store and backup data. If you are just one person needing a way to backup your data, the cost may seem a little high to you with the lowest priced device being around $750. Before you decide that is too expensive, I encourage you to read the story I wrote last summer entitled A Failed Hard Drive and Importance of Backup as the user in that story paid over $3000 to get the data off of a dead hard drive. If you lost all your data tomorrow, what would you pay to get it back?
For those who want don’t want to spend money for a NAS drive, there are also portable USB drives that will work. Yes, they cost less. The problem I have with these drives is that if they fail, your data is still gone. When will you discover your external backup drive is dead? Likely just after you discover your main data drive is dead. NAS drives typically are run in a RAID configuration that allows a drive to fail without any data loss. Yes, they cost more but they also provide a safer place for your data.
Having the hardware is only part of the solution as you still need the software to regularly backup your data. I love the GoodSync tool for this as you can simply set it and (nearly) forget it. The process of keeping folders in sync was described in Keep Folders of Data Synced With GoodSync.
If you do decide to go with a portable USB drive, just make sure to test it at least once a week to make sure it is still functioning. That way you don’t find out when it is too late that something has gone terribly wrong.