How much space was the data occupying? (after compressing).
Maybe you can do some rsync every couple of days, it shouldn't be that expensive.
Hard drive failure should be thought as a normal occurrence, which everyone should plan for. BTW, this thing happened a few weeks ago at StackOverflow (a very popular forum for programmers). You may be interested in the solutions they considered: Blog Outage – Backup Policies - Blog – Stack Overflow