What happens to your data when your computer floods/catches fire/explodes?

Image: Andrew Kuznetsov on Flickr

So, what did you answer to that question? If it was, “Meh, that’s not going to happen to me”, think again. If it is, “I’m making backups”, good for you. But how safe are your backups? Some say, one backup is no backup. This is especially true if you’re just backing up to an external drive connected to your computer. Yes, it will safe your hide when the hard disk in your computer dies, but what if a bigger disaster happens? Of course, I wish no one to have their hard disks crash on them, let alone worse. However, what if your upstairs neighbour has a leak and it is right above your computer? Or what, heaven forbid, you have a fire?

In the past, I gave these questions some thought. I thought I had found the golden goose when I came up with this; buy two external disks, set them up both with Time Machine, and swap them on a regular basis, keeping one connected to the computer, the other at my parents’ house. That way, even if both the computer itself and the primary backup drive (the one currently connected to the computer) dies, I still have the “offsite” backup. Well, in practice I think the offsite backup was maybe switched once, after which it grew old. Very old.

Now, I do have the solution, though. I use an online backup service. I chose Backblaze (full disclosure: this is an affiliate link, see further down in this post), because of recommendations from some podcasts I listen to (The Talkshow, Hypercritical and Build & Analyze when they still existed, and ATP). I haven’t looked back since. It’s only 5 USD per month per computer for unlimited backups, with no strings attached (except maybe that you can’t backup drives containing Time Machine data, but that’s more a technical issue than anything else). There’s even a way around the one computer thing; just setup something like Carbon Copy Cloner on your other machines to make regular backups to the machine that is being backed up to Backblaze. Their Mac client software is really nice. It has that native feel; if you ever used badly ported software from other platforms, or software developed by someone that clearly is not an experienced Mac developer, I’m sure you know what I mean.

Something else I can recommend related to Backblaze is their blog. They share tremendously interesting stuff they have a unique position to acquire, because they have so many (consumer grade, which makes it relevant to you and me too) hard drives that are being pushed to the very limit. Don’t worry, consumer grade doesn’t mean your data is less secure, because they have all kinds of early warning systems to make sure bad hard drives don’t screw with your data. Recommended reading: Seniors are the Kings of Data BackupHard Drive Temperature – Does It Matter?Storage Pod 4.0: Direct Wire Drives – Faster, Simpler and Less Expensive and last but not least, What Hard Drive Should I Buy? (I just bought a Western Digital Red for my Drobo based on this).

So, after all that, I hope you will look into getting your data backed up, securely and off-site. By all means, do your own research and pick the one you like. But, if you like the above, consider using this link to get Backblaze one month for free. If you do, and you decide to get a paying subscription, I will get one month free as well. I hope you don’t hate me for dropping an affiliate link at the end of this post without warning you up front, but I did not because I did not want to put you off from the post; I do genuinely believe this stuff is important.

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One Comment

  1. Posted 29 September 2014 at 18:29 | Permalink

    Very helpful topic. Two years back, I have faced the same situation. My computer was failed due to fire in my office. Luckly I was using my pc backup software for the online backing. So, I feel the online backup is the best way to backup files.

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