It’s sad, but true. Few Mac users create backups of any sort, and fewer still have thorough, automated backups. There is no complete and final answer to everyone’s backup needs, but that fact shouldn’t become a reason to put off implementing a backup strategy. The key to making it happen is identifying your needs. Start with these two questions: What types of backups do you wish to perform, and where do you intend to back it up to?
Apple’s easy-to-use Backup application is a fine choice if you only want archives (and you have a .Mac account), but for bootable duplicates you’ll need a separate application. If you’ll be backing up to hard drives and want only bootable duplicates, the programs discussed here are overkill; you’d be much better served by SuperDuper ( ).
For an all-purpose, straightforward backup tool that handles everything from bootable duplicates to archives, Data Backup is a clear winner. If you plan to back up to optical discs, Retrospect Desktop and Personal Backup X4 are the best options; Retrospect is more capable by far (but also more expensive and more difficult to use). However, Retrospect is unrivaled for backing up multiple computers over a network and for maintaining total control over every aspect of a backup when necessary.