Lets talk about backing up

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Lets talk about backing up

I am a firm believing in backing up your data, and for the most part I am diligent about doing do. Up until now I have used a mix of services that probably was not the best method of attack, but at the same time it was far from the worst either. If nothing else I can say that I had been much better than most computer users, but now I am looking to be fail proof. In the past I always did a mix of complete backups along with misc file backups, which was good. The bad part here is that I was breaking a golden rule in terms of the complete backups — I was only backing them up locally. You see, I had become dependent on Time Machine and that taught me a lesson yesterday — the external hard drive that I was backing up to died. It just shut off and never came back on. Luckily I had a spare drive in the closet and was able to set that backup again. Of course, that just served as a little wake up call.

Moving forward I have decided to do an on-site and an off-site backup of everything. For that I have chosen to stick with TimeMachine and also add in MozyUnlimited. The Time Machine is a no brainer for a Mac user (plus I already had it set up) and the MozyUnlimited seems to be a good option. Plus MozyUnlimited is only $5 a month.

As for those partial file backups, those are typically my documents and other misc files. They consist of a few folders and range in the ballpark of 5-10GB of space. Nothing major in terms of size. Anyway, for those files I am also going to use a mix of on-site and off-site backups. Except with these I want to be able to access them on the go, just in case. So I guess I am looking for a mix of backup and cloud access here. Luckily there are two good services for that, both of which I had been using already. For these backups I am going to be using Pogoplug and SugarSync. The Pogoplug will be my local copy with SugarSync my off-site copy. And as a bonus both of these services have apps for the iPhone and iPod touch as well as Android.

Anyway, take this drive failure of mine and rethink your backup plan. Remember its best to have backups that are both on-site and also off-site. Unfortunately even with drive failure aside there are things that can ruin a local backup such as a house fire, a burglar or in my case bad weather such as a hurricane.

And for those that are looking for an alternative to the services that I have mentioned, you can always back files up locally and manually to an external USB drive. Of course the best system is one that you do not have to remember to do. I would suggest automating your backup schedule whenever possible. Also, as an alternative to MozyUnlimited you can check out Carbonite, and as an alternative to SugarSync you can also check out Dropbox.

Finally, in terms of costs. Obviously there are some involved here, after all external hard drives and services are not free. Luckily storage has gotten pretty cheap these days and if you ask me, having my data safe seems well worth the price. After all, I have years and years worth of family photos at this point and plenty of documents that I have saved/archived over the years. Not to mention a 101.44GB iTunes folder that I would hate to lose.

In short, backup and then backup your backups. Now with Saturday just beginning I have to go and start my Mozy backup process, which with roughly 250GB of data is going to take some serious time.

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