Fujitsu ScanSnap Resource Center

Backing Up Your Paperless World

Ever since the first time someone saved something to a hard disk drive, the issue of backups has become the elephant in the room that no one wants to address. Indeed, it’s downright shocking how many people still refuse to save their data far, far away from where it was originally created.

In the process of converting all of your paper treasures to scanned copies, the importance of backing up digital files is more pressing than ever – and an ounce of prevention can save you from a level of heartbreak (and acid indigestion) that no decent person should ever have to endure. Mac storage is cheaper than it’s ever been, which should motivate you to consider backing up your data right now. Yes, even as you read these words.

Let’s take a quick look at just a few of the myriad options for ensuring that you won’t soon face the nightmare of losing your spanking-fresh digitized paperwork…

Record’em If You Got’em

Dual Layer DVDIf you own any Mac made in recent years, you already have a hardware backup device built right into your computer -- that SuperDrive isn’t just there for making DVD movies from iMovie, it’s also a perfectly useful data backup system that utilizes inexpensive DVDs to record anywhere from 4.7 to 8.5 gigabytes of information. While all recent SuperDrives can burn dual-layer discs (good for 8.5 gigabytes of data), the extra cost of these discs is still a bit high for our taste -- 75 cents a disc for dual-layer, versus 25 cents per each single-layer blank. The upshot is that dual-layer media will save you 50 percent shelf space, and requires less disc-swapping, but single-layer is the cost-effective solution.

DVDs aren’t indestructible, so make sure to get jewel cases along with the blanks discs when buying in bulk, and once you’ve filled them with your scanned paper documents, store them in a cool, dark place, away from direct sunlight. You should also seriously consider getting a safety deposit box, one large enough to hold a handful of backup DVDs (especially if you live in an area prone to earthquakes, floods or other natural nastiness).

Protection In a Flash

USB DriveUSB Flash drives are easy to use, and come in a wide variety is shapes, sizes and price levels -- we’ve even seen them for sale at drugstores and convenience marts. And with 2 gigabyte flash drives costing as little as $7, one might argue that their speedy USB 2.0 write speeds and super-high convenience factor make them the best solution for, say, saving your most critical personal paperwork scans in one compact, reliable, easily sequestered place. We already rely on these little USB marvels for providing a painless way to take a bunch of files on the road, but they’re also a great tool for getting into the habit of backing up your digital stuff. Some even come with built-in back-up schemes that provides one-button protection of files you’ve flagged for safe keeping.

Capturing a Moment in Time

Time MachineAnyone running Apple’s latest OS X, Leopard, is already the proud owner of Time Machine, Apple’s slick backup software that uses any USB or Firewire hard drive to create instant snapshots of any (or all!) files on your Mac. Time Machine is more relevant than ever, as external storage drives have really come down in price: We recently saw a 1.5 terabyte USB drive for under $140 at a well-known discount retail store, and prices are constantly moving south. The bottom line is that there’s never been a better time to put Time Machine into motion, ensuring all of the time you spend converting piles of paper to digital data doesn’t go to waste.

Some People Enjoy Cloud Coverage

MobileMeIn recent years, there’s been an explosion of Internet-based backup sites that provide an extremely valuable resource for putting your data far, far away from your main computer. It’s called “saving to the cloud,” and provides the added benefit of making the files accessible from anyplace where there’s an Internet connection – which, at this point, means most of the planet. There are scores of cloud storage options, including mozy.com, box.net, getdropbox.com, and of course, Apple’s own MobileMe site. You can easily try out most of the sites for little to no money, with pay plans typically providing larger amounts of storage space. We heartily recommend trying them all to determine which one fits your own digital lifestyle and backup strategy.

As you can see, there’s no excuse for not getting with the program and backing up all of the gigabytes of files you’ll have when you create a paperless world. A backup every day keeps the stress away!

Log in to Mac|Life directly or log in using Facebook

Forgot your username or password?
Click here for help.

Login with Facebook
Log in using Facebook to share comments and articles easily with your Facebook feed.