What is a data backup?
To backup your data files is creating a second copy of your important documents residing on your computer's hard drive and storing them on another form of data storage.  You can use portable devices such as flash drives, DVDs, CDs and portable hard drives or you can use an online backup service.  Generally online backup services charge a small monthly fee.

What risks are involved if I don't do data backups?
The answer is obvious.  You run the risk of losing your data.  You files could disappear due to malware, viruses, computer crash, theft, disaster or merely by mistake when deleting data.  It only takes one accidental keystroke and the data is gone by mistake.  Think about how may years of family pictures you store on your computer. You could lose them all and there would be no way to restore them.

What can I do to protect myself?
• Backup critical and essential files on a daily basis

• Backup non-critical files on a weekly or monthly basis
• Keep your critical files in one place so it's easier to create a duplicate
• Make sure to store your backup in a secure environment and away from your computer
• Test your backups occassionally
• Check with your department to see if there is a secure server available to backup departmental information; if yes then find out what the backup cycle is and the procedures you'll need to follow

Online backup services?
Before deciding on an online backup service there are a few questions you need to consider to pick the right service for you.  About.com PC Support provides a review on 6 of the top online backup services.