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GREENSBORO, NC -- This week 2WTK is focused on organizing. So often, we think if we back-up the pictures, documents, and files on the computer on an external hard drive we're fine.

Tech expert Kent Meeker of TechScout says, you're wrong.

"You usually keep the external hard drive in the same location as your laptop or computer. Should catastrophe strike (huge power surge, fire, flooding) you will more than likely lose BOTH the computer and the backup drive. Insuring you have a backup 'off site' is key."

That means "the cloud". Kent explains "the cloud" isn't in the clouds, it is not a satellite in space carrying all your information. It is networks within the U.S. pooling their resources and data space to allow for huge data storing.

"There is a lot of competition in the online backup industry and more and more companies are throwing their hat into the ring. Major companies like Google (GoogleDrive) and Microsoft (OneDrive) give you the ability to store and access data through their cloud system. However, backing up your computer to one of these services would be wildly expensive and ultimately undesirable. That's just not what they have in mind and don't really operate in that space."

Kent recommends two services, one for the average computer user, the other for the more advanced. Carbonite and CrashPlan. Below he lists the pros and cons of each and who they would be good for. Their cost plans are also included in this story.

KENT'S WEB EXTRA:

Test your backup for recovery

After a solid well thought out solution has been put in place...test it. When you are finished testing it...test it again. If you don't know how to restore files (or if it's working) you'll never know if you are backing up the right files. There are few things worse than thinking you are getting a full backup (of say your "My Pictures" directory) only to find out you never selected it for backup during the initial installation/setup.

Organize, organize, organize

This is where most all of us fail. You have a lot of files (pictures, music, document) scattered all over your computer. Before setting up any backup routine, take the time to relocate all of your files to folders that 'make sense'. (Example: Don't have a folder labeled "Documents" that contains pictures and music.) If you perform a little spring cleaning early on it will surly help you in the long run.

Kent Meeker owns his own business, TechScout. You can reach him by email: kentmeekeremail@gmail.com or by text/phone 336-462-6977

Carbonite

This service is easy to use and gives users enough control over the files that they choose to back up, so it is an appealing choice for people who don't want to fuss with or fret over their backup solution.

Carbonite's unique advantages include:

* Simple interface

* 30-Day file archiving

* Blackberry, Android and iOS apps

Some potential disadvantages include:

* Lack of advanced options

* Lack of Linux and Unix support

* Only offers the ability to backup one computer

* Lack of Windows Mobile app

CrashPlan

CrashPlan is a newer service than Carbonite, and one of its main features includes the ability to store a backup on your own computer (or another computer on your network), and also store a backup another on the company's central servers. CrashPlan also offers many more features than Carbonite, which is great for advanced users who expect a great deal of control, but it can be a bit overwhelming for the average home user who just wants to press a button and get peace of mind.

CrashPlan's unique advantages include:

* Linux and Unix support

* Restore options on all plan levels

* 448 Bit Encryption

* The ability to backup to another computer

* The ability to backup multiple computers (with the Family Plan option)

* No limits on file size (This is a huge advantage especially if you have a lot of video files on your computer)

* User-defined file settings

* Unlimited file archiving

* Windows Mobile, Android and iOS apps

Some potential disadvantages include:

* Options that could be too complex for some users

* Lack of Blackberry app

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