Everyone shoud be backing up their documents, photos and other valuable data on their computers. It's not an issue of IF your hard drive will fail, it's a matter of WHEN it will fail and are you prepared with a backup? There are several options for backup that are available out there.
Option 1: Google Drive
In the past, we would have recommended other options before Google Drive. Recently, however, Google has increased the amount of storage you get with a Google Apps for Education (GAFE) account to UNIMITED storage. Clearly, that is a lot of space. All of the SEDC Districts use GAFE. If you install the Google Drive application on your PC or Mac, all of your files are synced and always backed up. Deleting a file on one computer with Google Drive installed deletes it on another with Google Drive installed.
You can backup your online google docs to your computer(s) too!
Again be aware of how much space you are using. Overdoing it will cause some issues on other devices without the resources of your main computer. If you are using one computer then it shouldn't be a huge issue.
Deleting on one system deletes on another. If you don't want that to happen make copies of those files (Don't move them out) in Google Drive folder to elsewhere on your computer.
Option 2: Dropbox
How it Works:
Dropbox is an effective solution since it makes a copy of your local Dropbox folder on the Internet Dropbox servers, and any of your computers or devices which have the dropbox software installed. If a file is deleted from that folder on Computer A then the same file will be deleted on Computer B or computer C. Folders and files on Dropbox can be shared with other users by right clicking the folder and selecting sharing. Dropbox is free and gives you up to 16 GB of storage. There is software for Windows, Macintosh, and Linux. You can use it with iPads and other devices too.
Just copy the files you want backed up into your Personal Dropbox folder and moments later they start copying to the Dropbox cloud servers and any other computers that you have added dropbox to including your home computer.
All the devices that participate need to have nearly equivalent amounts of storage space otherwise it may not all synchronize! iPads for example have very little space to play with.
Deleting on one system deletes on another. If you don't want that to happen make copies of those files (Don't move them out) in Dropbox folder to elsewhere on your computer.
Option 3: Flash Drives
Where to get them:
Walmart sells them, at some crazy good prices:
Most brands listed here are adequate. There are other brands that may be suitable. Most Pen Drives/Thumb Drives/Flash Drives are USB 2 which is good enough, USB 3 is better but it is more expensive and many computers out there now don't support USB 3. If yours is new enough then by-all-means go for it!! Using a USB 3 drive on a computer with USB 2 will only give you USB 2 speeds. USB 1 is going to be so slow you may desire to hang yourself. (not recommended)
Well, you have to manually copy your files to the flash drive. But, you can take it with you if that appeals to you.
Option 4: External Hard Drives
Available everywhere. Pricing is varied.