Getting ready for data disasters

Q: What disaster-proof backup options are out there besides a cloud server? I'd prefer to keep my personal files closer to home.

A: Disasters come in many forms, including flood, fire and hard-drive failure, but you have many options for keeping your files backed up locally.

If you have a huge archive of photos, documents, music, videos and other important digital content, making a copy of your computer's hard drive with cloning or imaging software (available in places that offer utility programs) is one place to start. Once you have a copy of the drive's contents on an external hard drive or set of DVDs, storing it in a water- and fireproof chest or safe deposit box helps protect it from the elements.

Some hard drives are built to withstand extreme environments like water, fire and long drops. Companies with drives that can better survive disasters include ioSafe ( or SentrySafe (available at office supply sites or


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