Perspective Newsletter
Spring 2015
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 *Perspective Title (Hint: This should match page name found in the url address line above, minus the dashes.)

​​Are your computer files backed up if there's a disaster at home?

​​​It's a truth our adjusters see play out too often: When disaster strikes, almost nobody cries over a ruined TV or couch. It's lost mementos that break people's hearts – especially pictures of kids growing up, weddings, and loved ones who have passed away. And, unfortunately, those are things insurance just can't replace.

With digital cameras, precious photos often now reside only on our computers – the very machines that can easily succumb to theft, fire, or water damage. That vulnerability is one reason why experts encourage people to back up their computers two ways: with an onsite drive (preferably not at floor level) and an offsite storage solution like a subscription service or a cloud backup.

Recently, PEMCO joined Q13 Fox News to share why you need both.

In a nutshell, onsite backup is handy if your computer simply fails. Plus it's cheap, portable, and automatic using your computer's built-in backup features. The downside is it could get stolen or destroyed, too, if something catastrophic happens to your home.

Questions to ask yourself about computer ​backup

  1. Do I have two sources of backup – onsite and offsite?
  2. Am I willing to pay a monthly fee for a backup service?
  3. Am I comfortable turning over my data to a third party?
  4. If not, will I truly spend the time myself to back up my offsite storage often?
  5. Am I using strong passwords and other measures (where available) for my offsite service?

That's where offsite backup comes in. For about $60 to $120 a year, you can turn over preservation to a service like Carbonite, which can handle lots of files and give you the ability to see versions of documents from different points in time. Or, you could opt for storage "in the cloud" with services like Google Drive or Dropbox. They automatically sync to your account, meaning you always can view your files, no matter if you're using your home computer, smartphone, or a public device. Their free storage is limited, however, so if you have lots of files, you'll need to pay extra.

If the idea of handing over your data to a third party makes you nervous, you can go old school and simply copy your files to a USB drive or other media and store it at work or in a safe deposit box. That's a good, inexpensive, private choice as long as you're sure you'll update it frequently.