When putting together a backup solution for all of your precious photos, documents and videos, there are two simple rules to keep in mind. Think of the worst possible scenario and plan for it and don’t keep all of your eggs in the same basket. Whether it be your house burning down, a power surge, flood, burglary… you need to be able to recover from an off site backup. You also need a local backup for quick recovery from your computer, and an external backup should said computer fry.
I use a hybrid solution. Cabonite, is a cloud based storage solution that runs in the background on your Mac / PC desktop / Laptop and it updates any changed files from the initial backup that it finds on your computer. The initial backup takes a long time but it never interfered with my internet usage. If you’re sending 100 gigs up to the Carbonite servers, be prepared to wait a couple of weeks before the initial backup completes.
PogoPlug is a local based cloud storage device. That might sound counter intuitive but here’s how it works. You buy a PogoPlug and an external USB hard drive. You activate and configure the PogoPlug online at mypogoplug.com and install the utility on your desktop / laptop. You then configure a service called ‘Active Copy’ which allows you to specify a folder to actively copy over to the PogoPlug. An added bonus to the PogoPlug is that all of your files show up in either Windows Explorer on the PC or in Finder on the Mac seamlessly giving you access to your files regardless of whether you’re at home, in the office or on the road.
As for external local storage, I rely on Apple’s Time Machine to do all the heavy lifting. Time Machine can be setup for Mac or PC, takes only minutes to setup and then it just works. You can use any external hard drive as a Time Machine device on the Mac. It is recommended to use an Airport Extreme with Time Capsule for the PC, alternatively you could use Microsofts built in backup utility on Windows 7 with an external hard drive.
For some of you this might sound like over kill. But for those of you who have ever lost your data in the past, you know that it is better to be prepared than to have to start over from scratch. In a world where most of our productive lives have become digitized backups is no longer something to be put off. I’d be curious to hear what others are using as a backup solution.