Three words you hear time and time and time again. Such a cliché and yet we all know its importance. Here is where I pulled myself from an embarrassing situation – thanks to a backup I found safe on my remote drive.Unfortunately during a shutdown/startup I had an audio file corrupted that I was working on. It existed and was still of a significant file size, yet I couldn’t open it without a corruption message. Embarrassingly it was an interview that was hard to come by and part of an upcoming podcast episode. I thought I was going to have to bludge cap-in-hand for a repeat and explain my failing – or just ignore the valuable content and move on.When the light-bulb finally came on I trawled through the backup I had of that computer held on a network storage drive – and there it was – complete and intact. Whew!Another reminder came during the clean-up left by CryptoWall 3.0 on a client’s computer. An even more timely reminder to check my own (and your) backup routine – before you find you need it. Emphasis on ‘need’.Backing up your data evokes a thread of pain in many of us. Questions like what to back up and where it is stored leave us procrastinating. Myself included.One ritual I work by, is before I travel I make a manual backup of files of value (aside from the incremental backup completed by an automated routine).The simple rule-of-thumb is: if you use the document/spreadsheet/accounting software – then back up that data – the rest is secondary.Same goes for images/videos and anything you have tucked away that is of value. Chances are you know where that information is stored on your computer (My Documents, My Pictures, as examples) – so they are your target points to copy to a safe location.I simply copy the contents of the Documents, Downloads and also, in my case, my Outlook data file. It sits on a small USB external travel drive so should my computer die I have a second copy at hand.Not hard.Equally; I’ll copy document and accounting data to a small USB drive which sits in our safe.It’s up to you to decide the value of your data and therefore the level of protection – one thing is for sure, I’ve had many close calls and a couple of timely reminders in the last week to remind me to BACK UP MY DATA.Oh, what software do I use?For the automated backups I use a nifty utility called SyncbackSE – configured to incrementally copy modified or new files to a remote network storage drive. Being an always-on drive it all happens in the background. There are a couple of manual ‘profiles’ loaded so I can do irregular backups of a larger nature to other drives – and spread the risk.The pro version also backs up to cloud storage – a smart option when you’re spreading your risk.Next week I’ll update you on the clean-up of that CryptoWall 3.0 challenge.