Why do we need to backup our files?
We love how reliable our Macs are, but we feel terrible when someone brings their computer in for service and their hard drive has worn out, they don’t have a backup, and they have lost their documents, photos, or other important files.
Why do drives wear out? Hard drives are mechanical devices, with moving parts. Even though these days they are very reliable, they will wear out just like any other mechanical device. They spin at 5000-7000 rotations every minute, and we work them hard, so we can see why it’s usually not a matter of if, but a matter of when, our drive will eventually stop working. We are moving towards more reliable forms of storage (flash memory in the MacBook Air or iPad, SSD drives in the MacBook Pro or iMac), but most of us will still be using hard drives for years to come.
Sometimes your hard drive is working fine. but someone just accidentally deleted an important file or our laptop was lost or stolen. Either way, we always want to have our important information in two places–then we have a backup for when something goes wrong.
So what do we do? We can backup stuff onsite and offsite.
Onsite backups will protect against a failed or damaged hard drive. They are quick and easy to recover from.
Time Machine is the easiest way to automatically backup your computer. The first time you use it your whole computer is backed up. After that anything that has been changed is backed up every hour. Time Machine is easy to set up, recover from and is very much worth using. You can get an Apple Time Capsule to set up a wireless backup over your network or get a external hard drive. Then follow Apple’s simple set up guide to get started.
For Time Machine backups, all you need is a external hard drive. You can pick one up at Expercom for about $100. We have drives from 500GB to 3TB, portable and desktop varieties.
Offsite backups will protect against flood, fire or other natural disasters. They are also good in case of thefts where someone takes your computer and backup hard drive.
There are numerous offsite backup options available. A couple of the most common are Mozy and Carbonite. These are both online services that will automatically back up your files.
Mozy offers home, small business and enterprise backup options. The home option starts at $5.99 per month, and you can try it for free. You can get the small business option starting at $9.99 per month per computer, with small reductions for yearly plans, or you can choose the enterprise option with IT controls and customize it to fit your company’s needs. You might need to call or email them to get a price quote for this one.
Carbonite gives you two options, home & home office and small business. The home & home office backup plan starts at $59 per year, and the small business plans start at $229 per year. Both options offer a free trial.
LaCie CloudBox is an external hard drive that also offers an online backup service through their website. Anything saved to the external hard drive is also saved online.
These are just a few of the choices available out there. If you find one you like that you think others might be interested in, let us know and spread the word!