Today the final piece of my backup plan arrived courtesy of Mr. Postie - a LaCie external rugged hard drive:- http://www.amazon.co.uk/LaCie-Rugged-Tr ... 453&sr=8-2
This little box is built to be shock resistant so I can carry it around with me. You'll see why later on.
So then, what's my backup plan?
First wave of attack: As some of you know I run a Mac system and have Time Machine software built right into the operating system, basically it performs hourly incremental backups of my entire hard drive to an external wireless hard drive. This allows me to not only perform a full-system restore from the external wireless device but also search back in time to find a file or even complete folder I may have accidentally erased last weekend whilst being all trigger-happy with the trash can.
Secondary tactics: A good solid backup plan like above is good. Everything's backed up and I know where it all is should something go wrong and it's all simple and effortless to restore. However, why settle for one? As a secondary precaution protecting me against failure of my Time Machine hard drive I also have a second wireless hard drive that takes weekly incremental back ups of the entire of my own files ('Home' folder for Mac users). This gives me an extra "piece of mind" incase something bad should happen.
Now whilst both these drives are in two separate rooms from my main computer even this level of paranoia isn't sufficient to cover against something happening to all three devices (fire, flood, etc). I have a reasonable amount of online storage with my MobileMe account and with that I backup all important login details, passwords, documents and the all system preferences along with archived copies of a few of my applications. This backup is again automated on a daily basis. Although this method is more tedious to restore it does afford an extra level of off-site backup.
Be extra paranoid: As I mentioned above - the final piece of the jigsaw arrived today. Whilst the above steps have been performing admirably in the background for over a year now, there is always the case where you might need to get back up and running quickly and easily. That's where a clone of your hard drive comes into things. The new LaCie rugged hard disk is exactly that. It will contain an exact clone of my entire hard drive that will be at least weekly renewed. If my current system should fail I can choose to boot from this external drive and get back to work straight away - with every file in its right place. Being an external hard drive I can simply unplug it and take it with me out of the house when I go to work to safeguard the data from any unfortunates that may befall my household equipment.
I'm hoping that I never have to use any of these devices in anger as it were, but I feel a little securer now that I know my data is a little safer and sound.