Since we're zeroing in on backups, I do have an opinion on that subject (surprise, surprise).
I prefer to take the human element, myself included, out of the picture as much as possible. If the backup depends on someone going though the effort of making it happen, that is a weak link. Another area where I do not like to depend on someone making the effort, is reviewing logs on a regular basis.
I consider my solution simple. Bash scripts use rsync to copy to a network location. They can be called by cron, or like on my desktop, by the shutdown script. The result is e-mailed to me, using sendEmail. On Windows machines the rough equivalents are task scheduler, batch files and robocopy. SendEmail is also available for that OS.
You can substitute an external drive for the network share, if you make sure the drive is the kind that powers down when not in use. I have seen the ones which run continuously overheat and fail.