Data Backup for Home

I currently have 2 500GB USB external drivers that I save roughly about 500gb of files/pics/music/software/etc. (3 networked computers in the house)

I normally update one of them and sync to the other once a month to have a "copy" so to speak.

With all the emerging technologies, etc, is there a better way for me to do this? This is assuming that you need to upgrade your current drives' hardware from time to time to avoid it becoming obsolete or broken over time.
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  1. You could get a NAS enclosure and set it up.
    I personally have a Synology DS 207+ that I have setup in RAID 1 (mirrored) config with 2 HDD 1TB each. So far, one of them failed, was easy to replace and the mirror was rebuilt automatically. that thing is hooked up to my router therfore I have access from all my PCs.
    Redundantly, I also have a 1 TB external HDD plugged into a Thermaltake Blacx. It is an opened SATA bay that is very convenient to use and service. I have all the data backed up on that as well, just in case the Synology fails and I have to replace the whole NAS.
    Between these 2 things, I really can not envision a scenario where I could lose all my data (except A-bomb or something like that, but then I'll have other things to be concerned about).
  2. First of all, congratulations on having two drives and backing one up to the other. This puts you way ahead of most of the world.

    Second, I would suggest that you do a quick Google of "backup strategy" and scan some of the articles that you find. There are many software packages and many strategies depending on how hard you want to work and how critical it is to you not to lose anything / stuff older than a week / stuff you entered today.

    A general suggestion: Choose backup software, buy (!) and install it, and run it on a regular schedule. Disconnect the backup drive from your computer except when you are running backups, so that a power surge or successful virus can't wipe it out.

    I'm currently using MirrorFolder for my most critical realtime files - mainly my Email folder. It provides driver-level Raid1 for specified folders, so every write is backed up to a secondary drive (which obviously can't be disconnected, as above, most of the time). It also allows periodic syncs of folders to a backup drive, or can be used on-demand if you disconnect your backup drive. Everything else, I backup about weekly to an external drive which I then remove.

    If you let me know what your tolerance for losing data is (none, everything I put in in the last week, one day's worth of work) I can make more concrete suggestions. I deal with almost every level of paranoia in backing up, including offsite copies. For example, data that I need for court reports is backed up from my home computer to a USB key on my keychain. Onsite backups are useless if your site is destroyed or unavailable.

    (This is a bigger question than "what system should I build. Really.)
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