Most PC backups use either a separate hard drive or cloud-based storage. Expense, bandwidth availability, data security and recovery factor into any backup decision. Many people choose a separate hard drive for backing up data, along with a CD or USB drive for a system recovery backup. Cloud solutions require enough bandwidth to upload the data, but once backed up, keeping pace with changes on the computer requires almost no effort.
Both backup methods require some advanced planning. Typical backup plans include a full backup of all files done once a week and an incremental backup of changes to files that occurs at least once a day. A system recovery disk that backs up the operating system plays a key role in any backup strategy. The system recovery disk can be created one time and forgotten, though most experts recommend updating it at least twice a year.
Locally attached storage solutions usually include two separate drives used in an alternating fashion so that if one of the drives fails the other has all the data. Some people move one of the hard drives to a different location to ensure availability in case of a fire or some other disaster and alternate moving the drives.
Cloud solutions avoid the problem of potential data loss by keeping multiple copies of data on remote systems that can be accessed anywhere. The data gets backed up automatically and can be recovered on any machine.