photo credit: nickwheeleroz
With the financial crisis swirling around this week, I took another look at ways I keep my data safe. To best achieve this, offsite backups are a must. Should my computers become damaged or stolen, my data is still secure.
I’ve written before about Mozy, an effective automated online backup system, but recently I’ve discovered a couple of other ways to ensure my data is safe. These solutions are simple file-copy based, but work well for most applications.
Online Backup Redux
SyncBack (Freeware) is a simple yet effective backup utility. To quote from the helpfile:
SyncBack Freeware is used to back-up, restore, and synchronize files and directories, whether they be on a local drive, a network drive, an FTP server, a ZIP archive, or on removable media.
And it does exactly that. Through my web-host, I have an FTP account that I’m using to regularly backup my extensive digital photo collection.
SyncBack simply logs into my FTP account, looks for changes in the file or directory structure, and then synchronizes the offsite structure with the local one. Zip compression is an option.
As a freeware utility, it works well, though the full (paid) versions offer more utility including data encryption, CD/DVD backup and many more. View the handy comparision chart for more details.
Simple Hard Drive Backup — really simple!
My next door neighbour (a bit of a hardware geek) introduced me to the Thermaltake BlacX USB Hard Drive docking station. That’s a mouthful, but it describes the item.
Basically, you plug this little device into any free USB 2.0 slot on your PC. Insert a SATA Hard Drive (up to 1 TeraByte) into the dock. A quick initialize and format later, you have a fresh, empty HD on your system.
Setup time: under 2 minutes.
With the cost of drives continuing to drop, this kind of personal complete backup becomes more and more affordable. My setup cost under $100, CAD.
Your Windows or Mac system will recognize the adapter and drive as a removable storage device. Which means you can now use your favourite backup software (SyncBack works for this) to save your data. Or, simply copy your files and folders to the new drive.
When you’re done, eject the Hard Drive, and store in a safe place off-site. If you want to get fancy, you could automate your backups to the BlacX drive, and cycle between two (or more) drives, keeping the most recent backup at work.
The one downside to any backup solution is the time to backup. Using SyncBack you can schedule your backups to run evenings or whenever you’re not using the computer. Also, to make your backup have less impact on your work, you could stagger your backup: Photos day one, Documents day two, Save games day three..etc.
So, between Mozy, FTP and offsite HD storage, there are many good solutions for the paranoid user to consider.