As more and more of our history is recorded on digital media, the risk of losing everything due to a non-disaster grows. In the past, it would take something major like a fire, flood or tornado to destroy all the pictures and negatives we createed. Now, it take a power surge or just disk drives wearing out.
For this reason, I have 3 copies of every digital picture and video we've taken and why I'm starting to have all the old negatives scanned. One copy is on Deb's computer (which I bought a new drive for because we have over 22 GB of stuff now), one copy on my computer (which I'll buy a new drive after Christmas for since it is full now) and an external hard drive that I store away from either computer.
The thinking is that if we lose one hard drive, we have the other copies. If we get robbed they (hopefully) won't find the external drive or not know what it is since it looks like a book.
That doesn't protect us from the same disasters that could impact us if we had photos.
However, I have found something that can help. Mozy is an online backup system. You buy space on their servers and install a client on your PC (Mac too I think). The client monitors files in specific directories and copies new or changed files to the Mozy servers.
Depending on the speed of your UPLOAD connection to the Internet (usually about 1/4 the download speed) it can take days to get the first backup. For example, to backup 600 pictures, around 3 MB each, it took about 24 hours. The first backup, which was around 20 GB took a week since I only have 300 KB up speed.
Downloads are pretty reasonable and the UI (both web and install) is pretty intuitive. It also knows when the PC is in use so it doesn't take all the CPU or bandwidth.
It can also be used for any file on your computer, such as Quicken records, old taxes, documents for school or work etc.
The only thing I would do differently, is I would have taken the PC to work for the first sync since we have 100 MB up/down pipes there. It would have been done in an hour instead of a week. (No, not really, that would be an abuse of corporate resources. But I seriously thought about it 5 days in.)