Recommended tools

Your data can be lost in many ways: Fire, theft, failure, arrest, loss etc. You can also lose data if you apply some security measures incorrectly. Make sure you have adequate backups before you start securing and encrypting.

External Drive Backups

Large external hard drives are getting cheap so you can pick up 2 x 1 terrabyte drives for less than $150. I recommend using at least 2 drives, although 3 is better
Ensure one drive is stored at a different physical location from your computer and the other drive.
If you keep them all together they are at the same risk. So if someone steals you computer and all your drives, you will lose all your backups at once and all your data.
Keep one backup “offsite” at a trusted location that you visit regularly. Swap the drives when you visit so they are both regularly backed up. This can be a great reason to visit your mum for a cuppa.
Make sure all your drives are encrypted. You may need to delete the data from a drive before your encrypt it, so encrypt the hard drive as the first step when using your external drives.

Cloud Backups

Cloud is a fancy word for internet storage. Dropbox and google drive are examples, however these can be accessed by law enforcement.

These services can be useful, especially if you are working on small files. You can use encrypted services (above) or encrypt your files on your computer before uploading them to  cloud stage
Pros

  • easy, realtime backups
  • access backups from different computers
  • share backups and documents

Cons

  • requires internet so can be painful for large files
  • very insecure if you are not encrypting

Learn the easy way

My mate had 4 hard drives in his PC that gave him 4 backups onsite. His roof leaked and all drives failed. The only family photos he has of his children growing up were a few his mates could email to him. I nagged another friend with this story and she backup her photos. When her systems failed she lost everything except her photos. Although originally thinking i was an annoying nagger, she bought me a beer with a big smile.