How many ways can you back up your Mac? What is your backup plan? The number of ways we can back up critical files is a lengthy list. Time Machine. SuperDuper! clones. CDs or DVDs. Copy to another Mac. Mirror files to an external disk.
All those home or on-premise methods have a single flaw, even if you use more than one method in your Mac’s backup scheme. They all fall victim to the catastrophic event. That could be fire, earthquake, theft, tornado, flood, or anything else the renders the local backup method kaput. Is there a better way? Yes. And no. But multiple backup methods are better.
Hello, Amazon S3
One of my favorite non-local backup options is Arq. It’s a Mac app that copies select files and ships them off to Amazon’s highly touted S3 storage. S3 is relatively cost effective and Arq works in the background. Another solution that is similar but has other options is CloudBerry Backup for Mac.
CloudBerry’s claim to fame is backups but mostly on Windows, Windows Server, Exchange, and Linux, but the Mac version of CloudBerry Backup has plenty of useful features, despite a Windows-like interface.
Start by creating a backup document, selecting files and folders to back up, enter the proper Amazon S3, Google Cloud, or Microsoft Azure credentials, and set the schedule. CloudBerry Backup is packed with features arranged in a Windows-like environment so you may have to work to find them all. CloudBerry works more than a dozen online storage platforms.
The components I appreciate the most include those that go beyond most local clone backup systems.
- Scheduled Backup – set the specific time and date for each backup, including different ones for different online storage options
- Compression – files can be compressed to speed up the backup, and save space
- Incremental – only new and modified files get backed up after the first backup
- Notifications – email notification is built into the back plan
- Encryption – each backup can have up to 256-bit encryption for added security
- Local Backup – the app can also backup to a different local device, and the cloud
- Locations – backups go online or to network shares, NAS drives, and other devices
- Retention Policy – you determine which files of older backups are retained
There’s much to like in CloudBerry Backup. A free version has plenty of options, but I recommend the Pro version because it’s priced right but carries the compression and encryption option.
Like Arq, it just works, but getting there isn’t half the fun. There’s just something about a Mac app vs. a Windows app’s interface and where Arq is a pleasure to set up and use, CloudBerry Backup is a constant reminder of why we choose to use a Mac instead.
One note of caution about Amazon S3. I’ve used it for nearly 10 years and it may be the most dependable backup storage I’ve ever used. But it’s remote. And slow. And it gets expensive over time, especially if you use it to back up a complete Mac, including Photos, iTunes, iMovie, et al. at just over 2-cents per gigabyte. But that adds up. 150GB is a mere $3.45 a month, plus extra for uploads and downloads (Amazon charges for both), but that’s more than $40 a year, and $200 for five years.