Grad student John Boldt had his laptop (which held his thesis) stolen. But he backed everything up, so no big deal, right? Well: His backup hard drive was stolen too, and now he may have to drop out.
Anthropologists reading this Gawker post might recall how Edmund Leach loosing all of his Kachin field notes was actually a good thing for the history of anthropology, but not everyone is Edmund Leach. Remember the importance not just of having regular backups of your work, but off-site backups as well!
My tool of choice is Dropbox, which automatically syncs your files to the cloud, as well as to any other computers you choose to sync with your account. Dropbox will even save previous versions of your files, allowing you to undo any mistakes you made in the past 30 days. (Or unlimited if you pay for it.) It is also a great way to share files on collaborative projects and one of the easiest ways to move files to your iPad if you have one.
But if you don’t trust the cloud, at least remember to regularly leave a copy of your hard drive at your parents house. Or, if you live with your parents, then leave a copy in a safe-deposit box, or with your advisor. Anywhere but the same place you live and work. If you use Mac OS, SuperDuper is my favorite tool for making a clone of your hard drive. Perhaps readers can suggest similar tools for Windows and Linux. (Dropbox works on all three.)