The life span of a backup external HD is a lot longer than that of a DVD. However, he doesn’t have much data so a DVD would probably do…[/quote]
Don’t buy the cheapest brand you can find, get something like TDK, Kodak or Sony. I can still read my first DVDs just fine, and like I said previously, multiple copies are your friend.
Personally, all the people I know who’ve lost data did so when a hard disk went bad.
You can also take an external HDD with you (bring it off site); but I don’t know anyone who does that. In case of theft, fire or flood, you run the risk of losing both copies.
If the data is not too large, you could probably get a cheap web site host and send your files there. Setup a nightly script that rsyncs your local files and you’re always up to date. Many hosts now offer 10-20 GB of storage for what amounts to peanuts. You can also access your data from anywhere on the net. Of course, if you go that route, encryption is your friend.