Timely checkpoint (no pun intended) from Walt Mossberg; read the review (no subscription required) for details.
You could, of course, automatically back up your files to an external hard disk, attached to your PC or to your home network. But that can get expensive, and it doesn't store your backup remotely, so any disaster at your home or office could also wipe out your backup drive.
There's another method: backing up over the Internet to a remote server somewhere. This is automated and solves the location issue, but in too many cases it has been costly and complicated, usually with quotas on how much you can back up.