How to safely back-up your personal dataIn times of quick evacuations, the last thing you have time for is compiling all your important data to take with you.  By taking a few steps now to back-up your personal data, you’ll be ready to go at a moment’s notice.  By automating the system you’ll be able to set it and forget it, knowing you are ready for the unexpected.

Personal data that you will want access to during an emergency:

Financial information: name, address, phone and email of your bank and your bank account numbers.

Insurance information: name, address, phone and email of your insurance company and agent(s) and your insurance policy numbers.

Copies of your identification: copies of your driver’s license, passport and birth certificate go a long way when the actual items are missing or destroyed.

Copies of important prescriptions: such as medicines, eyeglasses, and contacts

Computer files: important photos or other digital files important to your work or home life.

With the advent of the internet, you now have two essential storage locations for your data: one online and one offline.  By storing your data in these two locations, you will be able to access your information no matter where you are.

Offline: One of the best offline solutions right now is one that takes up the least amount of space – a password protected USB flash drive.  These flash drives are inexpensive and compact.  By installing a password, you can keep your personal data secure in case of theft or loss.   Compile and scan your important data into your computer and then transfer to your flash drive.

You can password protect the flash drive in its entirety to protect your data.  If your flash drive does not have password protection encryption software already pre-installed, you can download a free encryption program such as CryptainerLE or TrueCrypt to your desktop or laptop and then transfer to your flash drive.

Online: there is a plethora of data storage solutions online right now and many are free and password protected for your security.

For photos: upload your family photos to free programs such as Google’s Picasa or Yahoo’s Flickr.  You get unlimited storage space for free and can set your albums to private so that others can’t view your pictures.

For files and folders: free options include SugarSync, which gives you 2GB of storage for all file types – photos to documents and multimedia and Google Docs.  If you need more space, upgrade to SugarSync’s entry level paid plan – you’ll get 30GB of space for under $5/month.

Automate it: With SugarSync you can schedule automatic back-ups of files you select from your computer.    For your flash drive, set calendar reminders every 6 months or 1 year depending on how often your financial or insurance information changes to update your files.

What data storage and automation solutions are you using?  Let us know what you like and what you didn’t.