That’s #4 through #2. What’s left? #1 is an option of the future which is here now. It works well, but, like any new technology, comes with some tradeoffs. On to Page 4 for the Mac backup option of the future.
Continued from Page 3…
At this point, I’m sure you can see the advantages of a multi-layered approach to backing up your Mac’s valuable files. Sure, CDs and DVDs work and are low cost.
That option has advantages and disadvantages. Low cost, easy, but requires regular effort. An extra hard disk drive, especially using a hard disk drive dock, makes using Time Machine a breeze.
Even more valuable is the cloning option, which not only preserves your Mac’s files as they were, but makes it easy to get back up and running—even without your original Mac.
Overall, the costs are nominal, even with dual external hard disk drives. What of the future? Is there yet another option which is nominal in cost, provides remote storage, and just works behind the scene?
#1 – Send In The Clouds
Assume for a moment that there was a super huge super computer attached to the internet. Just like the external hard disk drive attached to your Mac, all you have to do is click, and your valuable files get backed up over the internet.
That’s what online backups do. They’re free. Their software works in the background on your Mac (or PC) to copy specific files over the internet to a remote server for storage.
As with the other options, there’s good and not so good. Mac users have many online (cloud) backup options. Here are a few of the most popular.
Mozy – The Mozy online backup comes with two basic options MozyHome, which is free up to a certain amount of storage. And MozyPro which has more options and a monthly fee.
Backups can be scheduled or automatic. Your files can be encrypted for additional security. MozyHome gives you 2 gigabytes of storage for free. MozyHome unlimited comes with a nominal monthly fee but with more storage options.
Wait? 2 gigabytes of storage for free? Chances are good that if you add up all your Mac’s photos, songs, movies, and documents, that you have 50 to 200 gigabytes of data. That might takes days or weeks to upload files the Mozy’s servers.
iDrive – Another option is iDrive, which starts with a free account, no monthly fee, and a 2 gigabyte cap on storage. Other options include a pricing tier for up to 150 gigabytes of storage. Business options are available, too.
Interestingly, iDrive has other business options for database files, Microsoft Exchange Server, Oracle databases, and a way to backup and restore contacts from your iPhone, BlackBerry, or Android smart phone.
BackBlaze – Yet another online backup option is BackBlaze. Files are encrypted and can be retrieved via online download or they will send a DVD or USB flash drive via FedEx.
BackBlaze software runs in the background on your Mac and connects online to copy your files. Rates start at $5 per month with an annual discount. BackBlaze isn’t free, but comes with more options that some other online backup options.
CrashPlan – Yet another option is CrashPlan. The basic online backup is free for personal use, but other options may apply, including the Unlimited Individual Plan which starts at $3.50 per month. An Unlimited Family Plan is $5.
CrashPlan is Mac or Windows PC or Linux PC. Some options differ from the other online backup schemes. CrashPlan can backup files to another Mac hard disk drive. Or, backup files to a friend’s computer or another Mac in your home or office. Files are encrypted.
CrashPlan Pro is software which lets you backup your Mac to other Macs or PCs. Yet another option allows the backup over the internet for a monthly fee.
The Guarantee & The Plan
Here’s the major problem with physical backup plans. With the exception of the online internet backup services, there’s no guarantee. CDs and DVDs and hard disk drives can corrupt data, so multiple options and multiple hard disk drives will help to reduce the danger and mitigate data loss.
The online backup systems come with a few guarantees for safety and restoration.
The very nature of an online backup means that restoring files to their original state may take awhile.
That’s why I recommend a mixed cocktail of Mac backup medicine. Extra hard disk drives to duplicate data and make a clone of your Mac. Software to make the backup process simple and easy. And, an online option to backup select files from your Mac (online backup tends to be much slower, initially, than backing up your Mac to a hard disk drive, or to another Mac on your network).
Working in concert, your Mac files are stored in a number of locations, and in a number of options, all easily accessible, all away from the danger of losing your Mac in a fire, storm, flood, or other catastrophe. And, these options, even in concert, work well together, and cost less.
Are there other ways to backup a Mac? Yes, of course, so your mileage may vary. There are many hard disk drive options. Backing up important files to another Mac is of great benefit. So, what’s your backup scheme? What do you prefer to use and why? Got a horror story? Share it with other Mac users in the Comments section.