Tips for backing up data and buying an external hard drive

We are moving more and more towards the creation, distribution, and consumption of digital content. With multimedia projects, student and teacher created videos, podcasts, digital photography, and music making, the need to back data up is more critical than ever before.

There are a few solutions available depending on your needs.

  • External hard drive
  • USB thumbdrive
  • DVD/CD backup
  • Online backup services

The pros and cons of these options:

External hard drive:

  • Pro – low cost in relation to amount of data stored
  • Pro – huge amount of storage in pocket size format
  • Con – moving parts – higher chance of failure at some point
  • Con – initial expense

USB thumbdrive:

  • Pro – extreme portability
  • Pro – no moving parts
  • Pro – data size has greatly increased in the past few years
  • Con – much higher cost in relation to data storage
  • Con – I personally have had higher failure rates with USB thumbdrives than hard drives

DVD/CD backup:

  • Pro – cheap
  • Con – easy to scratch / degrade
  • Con – requires DVD burner to be installed to create backups
  • Con – small amount of data compared to other options

Online backup services: (

  • Pro – available anywhere
  • Pro – usually guaranteed backup on their end as well
  • Con – free only for limited space
  • Con – requires fast internet for multimedia content

My personal recommendation is to pick up a portable external hard drive. They’ve dropped significantly in price and you can now get a 500GB hard drive for around $100 USD. (slightly cheaper in the States, Hong Kong, Singapore, etc). This is different from the typical larger hard drives that require external power supplies. The portable drives can fit in your pocket, are powered by the USB ports on your computer, and are very light weight.

To the left is an example of a drive that I personally own and have had great success with.

If you have any questions about any of these options or would like some advice on keeping proper backups, please let me know.

Exporting WordPress Blogs

It’s a good practice to periodically export your WordPress blog. This will allow you to maintain a copy of your posts, tags, categories, and comments. This is especially vital if you’ll be leaving ISM or would like to import your blog into a new account. The screencast video below will demonstrate how to export your blog.

Should you have any questions or difficulty, please contact Brandon.