Backups are essential. There is no need to overcomplicate the process though. There are many programs available for this, but only three are relevant: Google Drive, Dropbox, and Carbonite. Sugarsync is a cheaper version of Carbonite, I believe, at $100 a year. I don’t think it keeps files, though, that you remove from your computer.
I only use Dropbox and Google Drive. If you are a captioner, you should NOT have to pay for any backups. Stick with the free version of Google Drive and the always-free Dropbox, if you do want to back up folders.
Freelancers need to pay for backups because audio takes up a lot of space. Check your state rules of how long you need to keep a depo. For some, it’s 7 years. I would keep all transcript files forever, though, since they barely takes any space.
On Carbonite: Carbonite is 270 a year. The ONLY person that would benefit from Carbonite is the person that (1) ALWAYS procrastinates on backing up files or (2) doesn’t keep up to date with equipment. If you do not buy a new laptop ever three years and are a careless person (drop your phone all the time – let’s be honest), then Carbonite is something to consider.
On Google Drive: For me, I used Google Drive once on the weekends as a freelancer. Backed up all my audio and Eclipse files for just $2 a month. I named the folders like this: 01 January 2014, 02 February 2014. At the end of the year, I’d put all 12 folders into one folder: 2014. Again, I paid $2 a month. This was for 1.5 years worth of files. I can’t imagine you’d pay more than $10 for 7 years worth.
On Dropbox: I put a file named DICTIONARIES in all caps into my Dropbox folder. In this folder, you would find ALL my dictionaries.
If you open my DICTIONARIES folder in Dropbox, you would see the Main Dictionary, the Channel folder, and the Job Dictionaries folder. When I am about to start a job, I can pull from these easily. My main dictionaries never get removed from Dropbox, so they’re always automatically backed up.
easy to access (email)
great for sending files to a scopist/proofer
can access and upload files on ANY computer
complete autonomy on what actually gets backed up (doesn’t just backup everything by default)
you have to do the backup yourself (not automatic)
easy to use
perfect for Wordpad (tax documents), Eclipse files without audio, and dictionaries
Takes a long time to back up even just one audio file (about 30 minutes)
You have to download Dropbox to every computer you want to access the folders on
backups are automatic
Backups are not completely thorough and hard to get a file back if something does go wrong
Backups are ONLY of the files on your computer, not files you just want backed up