I did not know yesterday was World Backup Day. Earth Hour happened last night, that I know, even though this time around there wasn’t much fuss about it. After a few years of Earth Hours, the excitement has waned. World Backup Day, on the other hand, is quite new. Yesterday was its second year. What is World Backup Day about? Simple. It’s a reminder to backup your stuffs.
As I write this, I plugged in my external hard disk so that Time Machine on my MacBook Pro can do its work. I do make it a point to backup my MacBook Pro, although it is not such a mandatory routine that I always plug in the external hard disk whenever it is within. Honestly, I don’t even do it every day. It’s something that, in my mind, I know I should do and it is something I want to do, but then, I’m not (yet) making that conscious effort to make sure that it happens at least once every day.
I think Apple deserves credit for making backup simple, straight-forward, and convenient for users. Many more people are backing up their data now than before simply because of Time Machine, a backup feature that was introduced with Mac OS X Leopard. It was the case with me too. Time Machine was designed to be like magic. Just turn it on, and it just works. Sure, there are a few settings that you could change, but it would just work if you didn’t do anything apart from turning it on.
Time Machine changed how I did backup on my MacBook Pro. Previously, I would be selective about what I backed up, and backing up usually meant copying to another disk or burning into CDROM/DVDROM. In fact, this is still the case with my Linux PC. I never would have done “whole disk” backups. But whole disk backups on my MacBook Pro has come in very convenient many times, when I had to change computers, or when I had to change hard disks. Or, like when I upgraded from the standard SATA hard disk to an SSD.
Nowadays, there are more backup options than simply backing up to another hard disk or CDROM/DVDROM. You can use the cloud. There are several options.
- Cloud storage services that provide a “hard disk” in the cloud where you can throw in any data you like. Dropbox is one such solution that comes to mind. However, unless you’re willing to pay plenty, the free option gives you limited storage space. You’ll probably need to be selective about what you copy into the cloud.
- There can also be services that target certain types of data. For example, your photos and videos have plenty of options these days: Flickr, Google Plus, Facebook, etc. Different services have different limitations. For example both Google and Facebook caps the maximum photo resolution.
- There are also purpose-designed cloud backup services. Backblaze comes to mind. It’s not free, but at US$50/year (os US$95/2-years) for “unlimited storage”, that seems a pretty fair price to pay. The upside of such a service is that your data is stored remotely, safely away from the computer being backed up. The downside, of course, is that remote network backups may be slow.
Ultimately, another concern with putting your data in the cloud is with security. Do you trust the service providers to keep your secrets? Many services claim how they use encryption and what not, ultimately to convince users that the service is safe and secure. Layman may believe them. The paranoid techie needs to see proof. It doesn’t help that once a while, cloud storage exploits still happen (e.g. Dropbox security hole).
Have you backed up your data?