Top 10 lists of blonde jokes are quickly deletable, but when you're going through your e-mail inbox, it's smart to save business-critical correspondence. Instructions, contracts, discussions and schedules are often mentioned in the text of e-mail messages, and you'd be clear-cutting a forest and cluttering your desk if you saved hard copies of everything. A better solution: Liberate a myriad of megabytes on your PC and back up critical information off your hard drive to protect it in the event of a virus, power outage, ISP failure or system crash.
Backing up e-mail is an easy and inexpensive way to protect both you and your business. Eudora users can use a nifty plug-in called Backdora to automatically back up important mail folders to another location on your hard drive, Zip disk or floppy. It's free for 15 days, then costs a one-time fee of $29.95.
Internet FileZone and @Backup are good repositories for chunky mail folders for users of Netscape Mail or Internet Explorer Mail. They guarantee their storage and offer encryption and password protection. Plus, since it's all done via the Internet, you have worldwide access to your files. Internet FileZone offers the first 10MB of storage for free, then it's $9.99 a month for 100MB. @Backup charges $99 per year for 100MB.
Hint: If you have less than 5MB of mail to back up, take advantage of a reliable Web-based e-mail program such as Hotmail, Juno or ExciteMail. Most of these services offer around 5MB of space free with each e-mail account. However, unlike Internet FileZone or @Backup, data transmission may be slower and less manageable.
Web geek Karen Solomon writes about technology and e-business for a number of publications, including Wired and Business 2.0.