Data is becoming increasingly important in our highly digitised world. This is painfully apparent when you lose it. As the saying goes: You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone.
There are many strategies for backups and all of them have their positive and negative aspects.
Online backup solutions are good because they are safe from natural disasters and theft that may occur at your office or home, but online accounts can be hacked and the service may potentially suffer from downtime due to failure of any systems involved including your internet connection. Even the most reliable online services fail ocassionally. Microsoft, Google, Dreamhost, etc. all suffered downtime at some point in time.
Also, online backups may take a very long time initially and may cost lot of bandwidth. Retrieval of data is also slow because you actually have to download the data from an off-site server.
Make sure when using online backup services to use a very hard to guess password that is totally different from all your other passwords, so if your other accounts are compromised it will not affect your backups.
Local backup solutions are good because they are quick to access when needed and relatively cheap as you only need to invest once in the hardware, which may last for years to come.
On the downside they are prone to the same environmental issues that may cause to lose data on your computer in the first place. If you have local backup it’s a good idea to keep it in a fire-safe box in a different room from where you keep your Mac. If you happen to have a safe, keep it in there.
I had a friend who had his computer and his backups stolen all at once, so he had not much use having all his work meticulously backed up.
It’s important to realise that no backup gives you 100% security. You should think about at least 2 levels of security when it comes to important data. For critical data it’s not a bad idea to have even 3 levels of backups.
In my opinion it’s best to have at least one offline and one online backup. And a third one for critical data that is independent of the first two. Here are couple of options that I use and you can consider too:
Time Machine for offline backup
I have an external disk set-up for Time Machine, which is great because it saves all file changes instantly, so you can resume work where you left off in case of crash after an install from your Time Machine backup. This installation takes time because you have to get a new hard disk for your mac and then move the data from the Time Machine backup to your new HD.
Carbon Copy for offline backup
I want to make sure I can work instantly after a HD failure without the need for the lengthy Time Machine restore, so I have two disks in my laptop. I replaced the optical drive for a faster SSD drive as my primary disk and kept the old HDD for a carbon copy. Every week I make a complete bootable copy of my primary drive to the secondary drive, so if at any point in time my primary drive fails I just have to restart from the second disk and resume the work. Carbon Copy Cloner is a great application to do this job, it only takes time to make a copy the first time, but later on only the changed files are copied over so it only takes a few minutes. You can even automate it regularly every few hours if you need the files to be very up-to-date.
Carbonite for online backup
Carbonite will only costs you $60 per year and you get unlimited online backup. The application is OSX friendly and very simple to setup. It does everything automatically and it won’t interfere with your internet connection speeds as backups are done when your computer is idle or at night. You can check out other similar online backup solutions here.
Backupify for onlines services backup
Backupify is a special kind of online backup. It allows you to back up your Gmail, Facebook, Twitter and other online services automatically and for free.
What are you using for backups? Let me know in comments!