Unless. Unless you have a multi-legged backup plan. Many Mac users backup files using Time Machine. It’s free. It works. It’s not so good for catastrophic disasters or Mac restores. Here’s one way to get your critical Mac files away from your home or office, backed up online, and on the cheap.
Load Up The Arq
You can clone your Mac’s disk drive so if the Mac bites the big one, or buys the farm, or starts pushing up daisies, you can be back in business in no time.
Unexpected theft, hurricane, earthquake, fire or device malfunction can still ravage your home or office backup plan.
Enter Arq, one of my favorite Mac backup utilities and the perfect complement to Time Machine and SuperDuper! (or, Carbon Copy Cloner) to a backup plan.
Instead of cloning data, Arq acts like Time Machine but stores files off premise and online using Amazon’s popular Amazon S3 simple storage service.
S3 is a pay-by-the-month online storage service with reliability in the 99.999999999-percent range. U.S. users pay about $0.085 per gigabyte per month up to 49-terabytes. Even better, Arq also supports Amazon’s Glacier storage option which drops that monthly price tag down to $0.01 per gigabyte of storage per month.
That’s cheap. And Arq does all the backups in the background. Create a backup set of folders and files and Arq does the rest.
Arq requires an Amazon account to use S3 or Glacier (but it works with other online backup services). For added security Arq encrypts files before they’re uploaded to Amazon’s servers. S3 is faster than Glacier but more expensive to use.
Unlike many of the other Mac and PC-based online storage options, Arq is Mac only and restores all of your Mac files and metadata correctly. It also works something like Time Machine in that it can backup certain files each hour (depending on the schedule you want) and create versions of the backups.
Arq also comes with controls and can be set to stick to a storage budget that you set for your account. Arq is totally Mac– everything you want backed up gets backed up– videos, photos, documents, complete drives, or just files of any size– 2GB or 20GB or 100GB (that takes awhile).
The benefits to using Arq as part of your Mac’s backup strategy should be obvious. Files are stored off premise, away from home or office. Using Amazon’s Glacier is much less expensive than most other online storage options, with less risk to file corruption or loss. That said, prepare to devote some time to that first backup. Uploading files is usually slower than downloading files.
I recommend starting with a few folders and let Arq do it’s thing. Then, every day add a few folders to the backup. That may take longer but it’s less obtrusive to your workflow. Arq runs very well unattended.