November 06, 2012, 2:58 PM — If you have no backups at all, you probably already realize your data is at risk. Any number of random thingsa theft, a hurricane, or a hacker with too much time on his handscould wipe out everything on your Mac. But you may be reluctant to start backing up because it seems like a big, scary, and possibly expensive undertaking. If that describes your situation, read on for tips on setting up easy, inexpensive backups in as little as 10 minutes. This isnt a comprehensive strategy by any means (for that, watch for my article Bullet-proof backups later this week), but its a good starting point for anyone seeking a quick fix.
Drop it in the box
Lets start with your day-to-day files. For file backups, Im a huge fan of online backup services. My favorite is CrashPlan, but among the other excellent options are Backblaze and Dolly Drive. These services are fairly inexpensive and easy to set up; and if you choose one of them, you can skip the remainder of this section. But if you want the simplest, fastest, cheapest option, let me suggest a different type of product: Dropbox.
Dropbox isnt intended to serve as a full-featured backup service. Its designed to automatically sync anything you put in a single designated folder (the eponymous Dropbox) to the cloud, and from there, to your other Mac, PC, and iOS devices. In doing so, however, it retains older versions of your filesand even files youve deleted from your Mac (with some limitations)so if you later discover that you need to restore last weeks version of your dissertation or a graphic that you accidentally erased, you can do it easily.
Here's how to set up Dropbox:
Sign up for a free account and download the software at Dropbox.com.
Install the software on your Mac.
Drag the files and folders that you want to back up into your Dropbox folder.