If what’s on Your Computer is Important to You, Use an Online Backup Service

When is the last time you did a full backup of your computer?

If the answer is “I don’t know”, “never,” “it’s on my todo list” or “do I really need to?”

STOP what you’re doing right now – Read this post – Review the 3 online backup services below – and then SIGN UP.

How would you feel if you woke up tomorrow morning and everything on your computer was GONE?
All those pictures you have taken over the last couple of years? The project you have been working on for months.

This is not the kind of thing that happens to someone else.

  • Hard drives fail without warning.
  • Even when you are careful viruses can get through.
  • And nobody wants to think about their computer being stolen or their house burning down. It happens.

Automatic backups are easy to set-up, and unbelievably inexpensive when compared to the alternative.

Local – Hard Drive backup – vs. Online – Cloud – backup.

Hard Drive Back-up

The Advantages:  It’s local, It sits right next to your computer. You don’t have to be online to access it.  You can use the hard drive for automated backups and you can use it to create an archive of files you want to keep, but don’t need to be on your hard drive.

Disadvantages: It’s local, It sits right next to your computer.  If there is a physical event that affects your computer (fire, theft, earthquake)  the same thing may happen to your hard drive.  While you can use automatic back-up software, many people don’t, thinking that they’ll remember to do it once a week.

Online – Cloud – backup

The Advantages:  Set it and forget it. Once you set it up it runs automatically.  My system backs up when my computer is idle for more than 30 minutes. I have a backup of every changed file within hours.  That means if I accidently erase the wrong version of something I am working on, I can restore an earlier version.

You can access your files from anywhere. If you are meeting with a client and realize that something you need is on your office computer, you used to be out of luck. Now it’s also on your backup and you can download it to your phone or in a clients office.

Disadvantages: There really aren’t any. Your data is as secure as anything is online. It’s encrypted and transmitted over a secure connection.  The backup service will make backups of your backups so you are protected.

Note:  If you have files that are very important there’s nothing wrong with keeping multiple backups or archive copies.  

Don’t confuse backup copies and archive copies.

A backup is like a snapshot of your computer at a particular time.  It makes copies of the files on your computer. If a file is deleted from your hard disk it will stay on your back-up for a designated period of time (often 30-60 days) and then it is removed, since it’s no longer a copy of something on your hard disk.

If you are running out of space on your hard disk, and want to delete some files that you don’t need regular access to, (old records or photos)  but need to keep you must make archive copies and store them on a hard disk or with a cloud service like Dropbox or AmazonS3.

Once a file is deleted from your hard drive it is scheduled to be deleted from your backup.

Best backup services for individuals or small businesses.

All of these services will continuously back-up your system. When you initially set them up they will automatically select some files for backing up, but you can add additional files that you want included, or remove any that they selected that you don’t want backed up.

Carbonite.  Free 15 day trial for individuals. Backup 1 computer (Mac or Windows) unlimited storage starting at $59.99/year. Home Plus ($99.99) and Home Premier ($149.99) add additional features including backing up external hard drives and creating mirror image backups. (A duplicate copy of the data your hard drive on a local hard drive.) Plans for multiple computers start at $229.99/yr.

Key Features:  All plans have unlimited data capacity. Home Plus and Home Premier add external hard drives. Best for someone who only uses one computer. Multiple computers require separate individual plans, or you have to back one up to the other and then have that one backed up by Carbonite.  

CrashPlan. Free plan will automatically backup your computer(s) to another computer. This isn’t a cloud backup (meaning your data is stored by them) but a way to get an off-site backup. You can backup your home computer to your office, and vice versa, or make an arrangement with a friend to keep your backup and you keep theirs. Free trial for all paid plans. Cloud backup 1 computer (Mac or Windows) 10GB storage starting for 32.99/yr ($2/mo.) Backup 1 computer, unlimited storage at $59.99/year.   Backup 2-10 computers unlimited storage starting at $149.99/year.  Save 20% off first year of Crashplan. (This isn’t an affiliate link – meaning I don’t make a commission if you use it – but it will get you 20% off.)

Key Features:  All plans backup to multiple (onsite & offsite) destinations. Free plan and low –cost $2/mo plan. Family plan is a good deal for 3 or more computers.

Mozyhome. Free trial.  Backup one computer $5.99/mo up to 50GB, three computers $9,99/mo 125GB limit. Add additional computers and/or 20 GB storage for an additional $2/mo.

Key Features:  This can be a good deal if you have multiple computers and can stay within their space limits. 50 GB sounds like a lot, and a few years ago it was, but if you end up with multiple copies of files in different folders, or have lots of photos, video or music you can get to 50GB pretty quickly.


You really are an authority – even if you don’t feel like one.

We’ve all been there. You know you can do the work, help the client, have the solution, but the little voice inside is saying things like “careful what you say or they’ll find out you’re a fraud.”

Often the difference between success and failure is your willingness to get out of your comfort zone. 

One of my favorite sites is Social Triggers. It’s about the psychology behind internet marketing. Derek Halpern is always testing new ideas and sharing the results. I learn something every time I go there. 

This week he posted “How to Sell Yourself (even if you have no credentials, no connections, and no money) with this video of James Altucher, he’s a hedge fund manager, entrepreneur, and best-selling author — and really funny.

If you’ve ever felt like someone was going to find out what you really know (or don’t know) or you’ve ever had enough money, lost it all and had to start over, you will love this.   It’s a mix of inspiration and marketing lessons.

 Update:  I just bought Altucher’s book, Chose Yourself, and I can’t put it down. It’s one of those books I want so many people I know to read.

If you are an entrepreneur or freelancer he’s talking to you — and he’ll change your perspective about having a job vs. going out on your own. Although the book is much more than that. It might change your view of the world. Funny, motivating, and inspirational. If you are feeling stuck in your business, this will get you moving.

He even sweetens the deal.  If you send him your receipt and write a review (or take a picture of yourself reading it) he’ll refund your money. It’s 4.99 on Kindle.

Go Buy it.

Microsoft Office User? You won’t like this surprise.

Why you must buy Office 2010 or 2013 today.

If you’re like me, you are using Microsoft Office 2007 and are perfectly happy with it. There are a couple of features I’d like that are in 2010 (you can make real videos in PowerPoint) but until now it hasn’t been worth it to me to upgrade.

What’s changed?

The newest version of Office, Microsoft Office 365 is a subscription service. Yes, that’s right. Microsoft wants you to pay a monthly fee to use your (or is it theirs?) software.

The way we buy software has changed dramatically in the last few years. Boxes with a disc have practically disappeared, and getting software by downloading an entire program happens less and less often.

The move has been to SAAS – Software As A Service. That’s the technical name for web based programs. Even if you haven’t heard of SAAS you’re probably familiar with it.

If you use Gmail, Yahoo mail, Mac mail or the mail service from Verizon or Comcast you are using a web based program. (SAAS) The software isn’t on your device; it’s in “the Cloud.” It’s running from a internet server somewhere out there.

There are lots of advantages to you in this business model.
  • You can access the program and your data from anywhere, on any device.
  • Your email isn’t stuck on your desktop computer; you can access it on your phone, tablet, or a computer at the airport.
  • It’s always up to date. When the software is improved you don’t have to do anything to get the new version. You may not even know there have been changes. It’s all done on the server.
  • It makes it very easy to try new programs/services. Because the software vendor doesn’t have to produce any physical products, it doesn’t cost them anything to offer free trials, or even free versions of their software.
  • Because it’s so inexpensive to introduce a new product we are getting many more options than we ever imagined possible.
  • You can access an expensive program for a low monthly cost. A good example is what happened with Adobe Photoshop. Until last year you would buy a copy of Photoshop for $200-$300, or the entire Adobe master suite (which includes about 10 products, including illustrator, a movie editing program, Adobe Acrobat Pro (for making PDFs) for close to $2000. Now you can get a subscription to Photoshop, for $20 a month.
It’s good for the vendor too.
  • Once the software is developed it costs very little to get it to market, so more people are able tyo get into the software business.
  • It’s easy to make changes and distribute them to all the users.
  • It’s a great source of reliable, recurring income. Instead of selling someone a product once they can now charge a monthly fee for it. Often what you pay for a year of service is what the product might have cost as a one-time purchase.
  • And this brings us back to what Microsoft is doing with Office.
  • Microsoft Office has been the best selling software of all time. It’s been bundled with millions of computers and it’s become the defacto standard. But lots of people and companies are happy with the version they have for many years. Each of the programs within Microsoft Office has so many features, most of us just scratch the surface of what’s available so we can go years without upgrading.

That’s been good for us – – not for Microsoft

So Microsoft has jumped on the web based software bandwagon. Office 2013 is probably the last version you will be able to buy as a product.

Since they haven’t said that I don’t know that for sure, but it makes sense. There is no upgrade version of 2010 – even if you own 2007 you have to buy a new copy. They introduced Office 365, the cloud based software and are promoting it heavily. They also introduced Office 2013, but aren’t doing any advertising for it (or very little.) Also you don’t find many sites online who have Office 2013.

What to do right now.

If you aren’t already running Microsoft Office 2010 buy it now.

Once the inventory is gone you’ll need to switch to another program like open source office (free) LibreOffice 4,  Google Docs or get a Microsoft subscription.  You can also get Office 2010 from Amazon or any place that sells software.