Files on my Mac are valuable. Very valuable. Music, photos, documents, movies. Are they backed up?
Yes. Where? Online or offline? In my house, on my Mac, or somewhere else where it’s really, really safe?
Mac360 has long preached save backups. We identified SuperDuper! as one of the best, fastest, most accurate, most valuable backup applications you can buy for a Mac.
We also pointed out the advantages of online backups using sources such as Amazon’s Simple Storage Service on your Mac.
The advantage of a local backup of your Mac’s data is obvious. When something goes wrong with your Mac or hard drive, your data is sitting there on another hard drive, ready to go almost instantly.
What happens if your house or office is robbed, burns down, or suffers some other calamity? I can’t think of what would be worse than either of those, but you get the idea.
A simple backup to another hard disk sitting nearby doesn’t cover the earthquake that levels your Mac, or the fire that melts the drive, or worse.
So, backup online. How hard can it be? It used to be difficult and expensive. Bandwidth was slow and space expensive.
These days, bandwidth is fast, getting faster, and less expensive, and hard drive space, even online, is nearly dirty cheap.
Enter CrashPlan, yet another automated off-site backup system for Mac, Windows, and Linux. CrashPlan was introduced during Macworld San Francisco. What? You only remember news about AppleTV and iPhone? Yep.
Backups should be easy, straightforward, fool-proof (despite humanity’s ability to come up with ever ingenious fools), and affordable. CrashPlan fits into the Amazon S3 mode.
Once you install CrashPlan and determine which files to backup offline, the application runs silently in the background, updating files as they are changed on your Mac.
CrashPlan lets you store your files via CrashPlan Central. Files are stored off-site, away from your home or office. You can even retrieve your files using another computer in a different location.
Your files are compressed and encypted before they’re sent to the CrashPlan storage location. There’s nothing magical or unique with this, but CrashPlan also lets you store multiple copies of needed backup files.
Think of it as a poor man’s version control. CrashPlan also does incremental backups. That means when a file changes, even a little, the whole file isn’t backed up, just the part that changed.
My favorite option is CrashPlan’s cross-platform, peer-to-peer backup service. You’re not stuck with CrashPlan’s offsite servers. You may also backup important data on another computer’s hard drives in another location. All that’s needed is access and an internet connection.
CrashPlan is mising some common features such as hard drive and bootable cloning, though such features are available in SuperDuper! and other applications. It’s easy now to recommend both a local backup of important data, and an offline backup in case of a catastrophe.
Like the Amazon S3 service, CrashPlan Central lets you store data based on how much you need. 50 gigabytes of data for $5 a month, and an additional 10-cents per month per gigabyte.
If you have say 50 to 100 to 200 gigabytes of important data lying around, CrashPlan can be attractive, but not so affordable, and more than bit slow to upload, and as slow to download. It’s only worse as the data requirements increase.
Still, for up to 50 gigabytes of data, CrashPlan is affordable and presents plenty of options for secure off-site backup.