I can never overemphasize the importance of this enough.
Back up your important data files. Daily.
This is a very simple procedure. It takes approximately five minutes. It will save your files.
1) Insert a thumb or flash drive into any USB port on your computer.
2) For Windows copy your “My Documents” folder contents to the the thumb drive. If you use any flavor of Linux, copy the contents of your “home” directory.
3) Right click on the safely remove tray icon, then click on safely remove for the thumb drive.
4) Place your thumb drive in a safe place.
The outcome is that you have your important files in case of virus infection, hard drive failure, or any other form of system failure.
The average cost for recovering files from a failed hard drive is $1000 and yields less than optimum results. Even with expert recovery services, 20-80% of your files can be recovered for a failed hard drive. The method of backup suggested is 100% effective.
If you have information of a sensitive nature, secure your thumb drive in a fire safe or other suitable container.
If you have data that would potentially make or break your business, I highly recommend you send a copy of the files to a friend or relative you trust implicitly on a weekly basis.
There are also numerous web based backup services that provide a complete solution for modest price point, such as Carbonite.com which charges $59 per YEAR.