External backup hard drive bargains
One of our favorite brands of external hard drives for backup is LaCie. This week (May 21-27), Best Buy has the enormous 500 GB Lacie Big Disk on sale for $279.99. A drive this size is ideal for backing up video content or high resolution scanned images such as you might create (or have created for you) for trial presentations in personal injury or medical malpractice cases. It will connect to your desktop of notebook PC via a USB 2.0 port.
For those with less capacious needs, Best Buy also has the Maxtor 100 GB external hard drive on sale for just $79.99.
If portability is more important than capacity, head to Office Depot this week. They have the tiny I/O Magic 8GB Gigabank USB 2.0 portable hard drive on sale for $129.99 after instant savings and a mail-in rebate. Depending on the nature of your practice, especially if your a solo practitioner, a backup drive of this size might hold all of your documents and data (depending on whether your backup program compresses your data). This drive really is compact at only 2.5 x 2 x 0.5 inches.
Office Depot also has the portable Western Digital Passport 120 GB external hard drive on sale for $149.99 after a mail-in rebate. The passport uses a standard notebook style 2.5 inch hard drive in a rugged case. Although significantly larger than the Gigabank drive described above, it will fit easily in your brief case or even a large pocket.
Getting back to maximum portability, Circuit City has the smaller 4 GB and 6 GB versions of the I/O Magic Gigabank on sale for $69.99 and $99.99, respectively, after discounts and mail-in rebates.
No matter which backup drive you choose, make sure you have the right backup software. For many years we have recommended Second Copy from Centered Systems. It is a bargain at $29.95 per license. Second Copy 7 is the latest version. It is very flexible and easy to configure. If you are more into tinkering, you could also try Microsoft's absolutely free SyncToy. It will keep the contents of designated folders in sync as you make changes, including folders on external backup drives, making it possible to use SyncToy for backup purposes.