How many ways can you back up important files on your Mac? Starting with Time Machine, I can come up with about two dozen Mac apps that promise to make Mac backups easy.
Except for one critical point that’s mostly overlooked, any of those backup apps will do you well. Here’s the real problem with backups? What if your house burns down?
Awaiting The Catastrophe
It’s bad enough that you Mac’s hard disk drive could fail, and with it all your photos, movies, apps, music, and files. Extra hard disk drives are cheap backup devices.
If you’re a diligent Mac user and have Time Machine running, and have a duplicate cloned Mac on a disk, good for you.
What happens to all those carefully cultivated files when a major catastrophe strikes?
Businesses often take valuable computer files and store them out of the office, off premise, and somewhere safe and secure. They do this through fast network connections, or physically carry backup disks or tapes away from the office.
What about you?
Online Storage Fun And Games
If you’ve tried one of the dozen or so Mac-oriented online backup services then you know the problem. Prices are low, but it takes days and days to upload critical, valuable files to an online service.
Sure, you buy movies and books and everything else from Amazon, why not online storage? As it turns out, Amazon S3 storage is about as good as it gets and it’s affordable.
Arq is the Mac app that makes the backup to Amazon mostly painless. This is what the Arq control panel looks like. Select the files you want to store on Amazon and click.
Arq has settings to include only those files you want backed up, and exclude files you don’t need to backup (cache files, log files).
You can even set up a series of filters to ensure that you’re backing up online only files you need stored away from home or office.
Here’s what I like about using Arq. It’s accurate. Mac files contain plenty of meta data which some online backup services ignore. You Mac files stay Mac files.
Arq also encrypts your files using AES-256 (that’s government grade). Files are stored in a non-proprietary format.
Backups from Arq and Amazon S3 are drag and drop. Find the files you want, drag them to your Mac. And, Arq archives changed files, similar to Time Machine, so you won’t lose what’s been changed.
Backups are hourly for a day, then daily for a month, and weekly for everything beyond a month.
What’s the downside of an Arq backup? You’ll need an Amazon S3 account. They’re cheap and easy to setup, and about as secure as online accounts can be. We use Amazon S3 to serve most of the smaller graphic files on Mac360 and we’ve been doing it for years. Arq is a good online backup complement to Time Machine and your local hard disk drive clone.