World Backup Day is the 31st of March and is a great time to put a backup plan in place for your computer(s). Because backing up is stuck at the bottom of a to-do list, homes and businesses are losing large amounts of their data daily. Even if you only do this one time a year when the calendar tells you to, this is a reminder, it’s time to take action on that to-do list and make those backups happen! But how do you do this? What’s the most effective, and easiest way is for your home or business to backup?
You have most likely heard of file backup by a few names like: Cloud Sync, Cloud Backup or Cloud Storage. They are meaningless enough to be anything and all similar enough to be confusing to most people. So, here is the one you need today and what they mean.
iCloud, Google Drive, Dropbox, etc. are services that sync up with one folder on your computer and mirror it. When a file changes in one folder, the cloud sync service rushes to change in on the computer too. That way they are always the same. Cloud sync services are great for those squeezing in a couple of quick tasks while riding the bus to work, or hugely flexible enough for remote employees. They require no training, free tiers are enough for most people, and they are ridiculously easy to use. Now, this all sounds absolutely amazing, correct? Except…when something goes wrong, it goes wrong in a big way. If you accidentally delete a file it will disappear from the cloud sync drive – almost instantaneously. When you overwrite a file it does the same thing, and edits are there to stay if an employee or family member edits the wrong file. Even if disaster strikes and that local copy becomes corrupted, or worse, ransomed, well you guessed it, the corruption is uploaded too. Some cloud sync services offer a 30 day backup option, but you might not notice the file is missing within this time.
Cloud sync services are fantastic for accessing files on the go and productivity, but they just cannot be relied on as a backup technology.
Microsoft Azure, Amazon S3, etc… are gigantic facilities full of storage drives that work just like that local hard drive on your computer, except you can access them securely over the Internet. In reality, when you use a cloud sync application, like Dropbox, they are really just sending your data to one of these Cloud Storage locations. Sync services have a continuous back and forth connection between the storage center and the folder on the computer, and as explained previously, are not a good backup. You have another option. You can access cloud storage on a per/GB basis and upload that entire backup as you desire. It will be safe from disaster, but will not update changes on your local network. To retrieve a file, you just need to login and download it.
Your backed up data is protected against disaster, always available, and secure. But, it relies on human action to take care of the backup plan and manually upload the backup, this is a high-risk way to do things. Unless you, or someone else, is scouring your network each day/week/month for changes to your files and then uploading them with feverish dedication, the chances are that this plan will not work. I recommend an outsourced or automated solution so you can get on with your life AND be protected.
Backblaze backup, Crashplan, Carbonite, etc…might not be names you have heard before, but they do work in the background to watch for changes to your files on the computer or network and they make sure you are backed up. You can roll back whole drives or individual files, and even select from the earlier backups and not just one backup. Like the sync services, these solutions use cloud storage facilities with extra-high redundancy and security so that the data is always available when it is needed. What is even better is neither you nor another person needs to fret about when the backup was last done.
The One You Need
First, we need to take a moment to talk planning. I recommend you start with a 3-2-1 strategy. This means you should have 3 copies total. 2 of them should be local, like one on your computer and one on an external hard drive. 1 should be offsite in the cloud. Using this strategy is an investment in your up-time and keeps you operating when data disasters occur. Would you like to get setup with the 3-2-1 strategy method? Do you need help selecting the right cloud service for your needs?. If you are looking for more cost-effective, scalable solution that will give you the best peace of mind, ask about my managed backup service.
Need help with your 3-2-1 backup?
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