If you aren’t in the habit of backing up your data, you might assume that it’s difficult or tedious. But I’ve got news for you, it’s easy-peasy. Nowadays, backing up is a complete no brainer.

There are many backup options. New PCs often come bundled with backup options included in the “bloat ware.” Microsoft Windows 7 comes with “Windows Restore/Back Up” accessible via the Control Panel, and Macs offer a backup option called Time Machine. You can buy an external hard drive to copy your files to, or invest in a remote backup service.

I suggest backing up twice on local drives and once in the cloud.

Cloud backup options include Mozy, McAfee, and Carbonite.

Mozy online backup costs $6 per month to back up 50 gigabytes of data on one computer, or $110.00 a year for 125 gigabytes on up to three computers. Mozy offers an easy to use interface and quick, effortless backups of every file type, including files on external drives. If you have over 110 gigabytes, though, it gets pricey.

McAfee online backup costs $5 per month, and works exactly like Mozy, except that as of this writing, users receive unlimited backup for that $5 monthly fee.

Carbonite online backup offers unlimited storage from one computer for under $5 per month. Carbonite is inexpensive with an easy to use interface that allows you to access your data via an iPhone app, which is very cool. Unfortunately, Carbonite won’t back up external drives, backing up certain media, like videos, is slow, and you have to manually check your folders to make sure everything has successfully been backed up. Also, certain files , like software programs with a variety of unusual file extensions, have to be zipped beforehand, since Carbonite won’t back up the individual files with odd extensions.

My 200-gigabyte C: drive came built into my PC as the main operating system drive. My E: drive is a secondary 2TB drive installed in the slot most PCs provide for a second drive. And I have a 2-terrabyte external drive, my F: drive, which I keep running 24/7. I paid $80.00 for a 2TB E: drive and $104.00 for a 2TB external drive. I also have unlimited cloud-based backup, which is accessible for $60 a year. And for $20, I’ve installed Goodsync.

All my data is on stored on my E: drive, filling more than three quarters of the 2-terrabyte internal drive. Drive E is my primary data drive, and gets backed up to the cloud and synced to the external 2-terrabyte F: drive. Goodsync automatically syncs my internal E: drive and external F: drive every two hours. I do this because, while all my data is stored in the cloud, if my internal drive does crash, downloading it all would be a chore, plus, I’d need a drive to download it too, anyway.

The cloud is ideal for mitigating major catastrophes, like fires, but not practical for accessing data on a daily basis.

That’s it. Two local backups and one cloud-based backup. Do it today. It’s easy-peasy.

Robert Siciliano is a personal security expert contributor to Just Ask Gemalto. (Disclosures)

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