Can't say this enough. Backup, backup, backup. Your data should be in at least two places preferably three places with one being off-site. There are generally a couple of strategic ways to plan backups:

  • Hard Drives 
  • Removable Media
  • Online Storage

Hard Drive

This is the most flexible way to do a backup and in most cases the most efficient in cost and capacity. The hard drive can be another internal drive if a drive bay is available or a Firewire or USB connected drive. In this case it could also be considered “Removable Media.” Backups of data can be done via manually copying but this does not work reliably for applications and does not work for system copies. The alternative is to use backup software.

Removable Media

As noted above, removable media can be external hard drives. They can also be in the form of DVD's, CD's, Flash Drives, Tape, etc. Generally capacity of this type of media is limited, thus it is better suited for archiving or small capacity backup. They also offer the capability of being transportable and may satisfy the need for off-site storage. DVD's and CD's are a good option for photo and music storage, but be aware that the storage life of the media is limited.1)