Backing up for Hurricane Sandy

The largest hurricane/noreaster/superstorm ever recorded is on the way to the Mid-Atlantic. Yikes. Ready here, and I’ll be available for power-related computer and network repairs once the storm passes and power is restored, for anyone in Carroll County, Maryland.

It’s getting late for backups now, but you should always have these backups for each computer:

  • There should be a full-image backup of the hard drive, on a removable device, usually an external drive, less than 3 months old, for restoring a burnt/crashed hard drive
  • There should be a documents backup, not older than the amount of work that you can easily recreate, on a removable device. For businesses, that’s usually one day old.
  • There should be another documents backup, from a week or two older than your newest backup, in case the newest backup is incomplete, lost, or zapped.
  • A backup device that is removable, but still plugged into your computer when a storm arrives, doesn’t count as a backup.
  • Finally, there should be an online backup of documents. Online backups should be encrypted before leaving your computer.

Overall, you’re aiming for three copies of all data, on two different types of devices, and one copy of data that is off-site. All of these backups can be automated. Ask me how, if you’re in central Maryland.

Jerry Stern is webmaster at and