Thursday, September 16, 2010

Use Dropbox to Back up, Sync, and Share Your Files

I recently posted about the importance of backing up your files, where I cited the 3-2-1 rule for backups: three copies (primary and two backups), two types of media, and one copy stored off site.  Dropbox is a service that can help with this model, and it's free for up up to 2 GB.  Dropbox lets you easily back up, sync, and share files with others.

Dropbox creates a folder on your computer where you may place files that you can then make accessible from any other computer in the world, either to you exclusively or also to other people of your choosing.  When you change a file in this folder, it automatically changes the corresponding file housed on the Dropbox folder residing on another computer (imagine using this tool to sync your files between your home and office computers).

Use Dropbox as a tool for backup and you'll have at least one copy stored off-site on a Dropbox server.  If you additionally use Dropbox to sync your files on a computer at home and another at work, this gives you three copies in three different locations.  Add automatic backups operating on an external hard drive and you have a pretty secure system for your most important files.

ProfHacker has featured enthusiastic posts in recent months about how academics make use of Dropbox: see this one on using Dropbox for backups, and this one for using Dropbox for syncing.

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