General discussion

Here is how I back up my data, how do you do it?

Topic of discussion:

Happy 2015 to everyone. May all your tech dreams come true and your computing experience be all you want it to be and more!

If you followed Lee's weekly CNET Community Q&A in 2014 either as seeker or provider of information you probably noticed that on numerous occasions regardless of the topic employment of a backup scheme was mentioned as a key component to good computing. With that in mind I thought it might be fun and informative to share with CNET Community members the backup scheme you employ to protect your invaluable data.

Terms: CHD = Conventional Hard Drive / SSD = Solid State Drive / Host = Drive with OS, Files and Folders for backup / Storage Device = Destination for data being backed up

The simplest definition of a backup that I can give is this - "It is the copying of data from a Host to a Storage Device". IMO there are three (3) types of backup schemes:

1. Direct: Tower systems wherein one or more drives are installed in the same tower for Host backup

2. USB/eSATA/Firewire/Thunderbolt: Tower and laptops where the Storage Device is connected to the Host via cable

3. NAS - Network Attached Storage: Tower and laptops where the Storage Device is on a network (has an IP address) and data is transferred from the Host via Ethernet cable or WiFi.

Ideally the capacity of the Storage Device is larger than the Host. However, this deserves a bit of explanation. Today the average consumer uses a laptop or convertible with CHD/SSD capacities ranging from 128GB to 512GB for SSD's and 1TB for CHD's. 1TB SSD's are rare as cost is most often prohibitive. Therefore, your Storage Device is typically 2X the capacity of the Host.

The truth is that at 75% to 80% of Host capacity your system is probably going to show signs of sluggishness as it searches for files.

For maximum performance I recommend a Host not exceed 60% of useable capacity - no more than 70% in a pinch. That being said as long as the Storage Device is only used for backup (no manual off-loading of data from cameras or flash drives) 2X capacity is more than enough. However, in today's market one might as well opt for a 1TB Storage Device (assuming 128GB - 512GB Hosts) as the price point difference for a lower capacity is minimal.

In any scenario the Storage Device of choice for reliability and longevity should be a CHD. SSD's are more common as portable storage devices. Here's what I use:

-- Backup Scheme: NAS over WiFi

-- Reason: Mobility

-- Backup Software: Acronis True Image 2015

-- Router: Apple Time Capsule 802.11 ac

-- Storage Device: Apple Time Capsule - 2TB
-- MacBook Pro 15 (SSD)/ MacBook Pro 17 (SSD) /iMac 27 inch (HD) - All with OSX Yosemite 10.10.1
-- Purpose: Files/ Folders / SSD & HD Clone

-- Storage Device: NetGear Ready NAS 104 - 1TB Western Digital (WD) Red Drives x 4
-- Surface Pro 3 (SSD) - OS Windows 8.1
-- Purpose: Files / Folders / HD Clone / iTunes Server - via iMac 27 inch

To keep this as short I'm only going to discuss the NAS scheme that uses my NetGear ReadyNAS (NGRN).

The NGRN is configured with four (4) 1TB WD Red (CHD) drives. IMO it has the following advantages over a single drive of the same capacity:

-- Backup Data is spread evenly over Drives 1, 2 and 3 (one-third each)

-- Drive 4 contains All Data found on drives 1, 2 and 3

-- If Drive 1, 2 or 3 fails the data can be rebuilt from Drive 4 to the remaining two and the new drive

-- If Drive 4 fails the data can be rebuilt from Drives 1, 2 and 3 to the new drive

-- Essentially it is a perpetual (for lack of a better term) recovery system

The data on the NGRN is backed up daily to a single 4TB USB CHD that is connected to the NGRN via USB cable.

I'm not advocating one method over the other - of the three I mentioned. What's important is that everyone employ some type of backup method/scheme. Let's hear your thoughts on the subject and how you accomplish your backups..

--Submitted by Aaron J.

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Comments
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Here's how I do it.

I have two external CHDs, 2 TB each connected via USB 3. On my Windows 7 desktop I use the still viable (but no longer commercially available through Symantec. You can still buy it via Amazon though.) Norton Ghost 15. Since Ghost doesn't work with Windows 8 and 10 which I have on another desktop, I use Easeus Todo Backup Free which works about as well as Ghost and is completely free for home use. I have another two USB 3 connected CHDs on that system. With both Ghost and Easeus, I just set them up and they perform backups at the intervals I want. On my most important computer it's automatically backed up every 4 hours with 6 generations of full system backups to a different drive. Periodically I copy my most important data to a flash drive which I keep in the glove compartment of my car. Once every 6 mos. or so, I make another copy of my data and take it to my safe deposit box at my bank.
The above might sound like a lot, but most of it is totally automatic, taking no time or effort on my part.

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Auto backup

It's convenient to keep an external drive to automatically back up. But, I now do it manually and connect the drive only then. Maybe I'm paranoid, but if you become infected with a bad virus, it might infect all connected devices also.

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Windows 7 solutions

This is definitely the safest option: occasional manual backups.

Making unattended automatic backups is utter folly, because you are completely vulnerable to any virus that infects your system, which will simply be automatically propogated through all your backups.

Also, I would never leave a backup device connected all the time. Any device has a finite lifetime, so will last much longer if only in use for a couple of hours once a week.

Norton Ghost is a great product, but for a much quicker backup you can use the program Robocopy.exe built into Windows 7, which can do an update of altered files only, which can be much quicker than making a complete image of your entire hard disk. Here is a straightforward batch file -

SET source=C:\Users
SET destination=D:\

ROBOCOPY "%source%" "%destination%" /E /XO /FFT /DST /COPY:DAT /A-:A /DCOPY:T /XJ /SL /RShocked /PURGE /V

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How do I use Windows 7 Pro. to backup all files?

I`ve used Nero and many other backups for my files. Now that I have a Windows 7 Pro., what program or system should I use.......

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on all the time back up

one problem with "on all the time Back Up" is if you get hit with a crypt-lock virus you have just lost the back-up -- it will be encrypted 2 - I keep my back up powered off so that will not happen

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That sounds just fine.

Wow!
That flash drive sounds just fine, if you have just a few documents and a few pictures to back up, I mean.
What about someone like me. I have 128GB of Music, 166GB of Pictures and only 2.5GB of Documents and I'm not even including the video folder.
My programs folder reads 105GB too.
Just to be quick, I have a 1TB HD that reads 850GB of that used and yes, I have been backing it all up to external HDs.
I use Acronis True Image Software to backup the whole HD, and also use Western Digital own files backup software, you know, the one that comes with their external hard drives, to backup files only.
This sounds all just fine if you have the time and patience to wait for those backups to finish.
It takes a loooonnng time to backup a 1TB hard drive and you have to be always doing it.
The files backup is not so bad, but to be sure that it will be backed up, I always use another external HD just to backup any new file that I am adding to my computer/s; being it a document, a new picture, etc.
I am very much afraid of not being able to return the computer to a earlier stage, because I have some very expensive software installed, hundreds if not thousands of dollars worth, and as everyone knows, some companies do not allow you to reinstall without paying for another license.
Adobe allows you to deactivate Photoshop and then reactivate in another computer, but others don't do that. Some give you a few re-activation opportunities and when you have used them all, that is it, you have to buy more activation authorizations.
So, back it up, back it up, back it up. Wink
Good backups to everyone and all the best to all,
Domingos

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Create a Clone or an Image

If you have thousands of dollars of software on your hard disk, you need to make a byte-by-byte clone or image of your hard disk, on another 1TB hard disk.

That way, you have a backup disk which you can replace your existing disk with if anything goes wrong with your original. A byte-by-byte clone is a fully working duplicate of the original. Because it is an exact duplicate, all of your expensive software will work without needing to be reinstalled.

Once you have made the clone as your backup, you may only need to make a new clone once every two or three months, because you only need to re-do the lengthy cloning process after you install new software.

In the meantime, you can back up new document files you create by simply copying them to a USB thumb drive - for example. You need only spend a few minutes a day on this.

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External HDD Backup

I use ShadowProtect Desktop for my image backup, which are done twice a week on both the 256 GB SSD that stores the OS and programs, and also the internal HDD that stores the data. The SSD does a full backup weekly and one incremental backup each week. The data drive is on a monthly schedule with two incremental backups each week.

Because I am concerned about CryptoLocker I keep my external HDD physically disconnected from the computer when the computer is physically connected to the network and Internet. At the backup time I turn the computer off, unplug the ethernet cable and plug in the USB cable for the external HDD and do the backups. Once I am done I turn the computer off, swap cables and restart the computer.

I also run periodically run the backup verification program that comes inside ShadowProtect to make sure my image is good and that my external HDD is operating normally.

Finally my most critical data files are also encrypted and backed up to a cloud backup service, but I only send them the few files that are absolutely necessary in case all else goes wrong.

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Good plan if you are disciplined to do it!

I do commend you on your diligence, however, I have found most people I know are going to do that for a week or 2 then stop doing it because, let's face it, it's a hassle, especially for non-techies. I believe anything worth backing up is worth backing up to both an external hard drive and to the cloud. Even if you keep your external drive safe from viruses, it is not safe from fire, flood, or theft (unless you lock it in a fireproof safe that is bolted down. Cloud backup is cheap and is completely safe from viruses like Cryptolocker/wall etc. Plus if you need a file while away from your computer, with most of the cloud backup services you can just login to your account and get it from anywhere with internet access. I am not criticizing as your plan is great and as long as you are willing to do what you do, it is fine. But I feel like most people should setup something that they can set and forget because they just won't keep it up otherwise.

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Cloud backup is deadly slow

The major, major problem with cloud backup is that copying a file to a remote on-line server is so terribly slow.

It is about fifty times faster to copy a file from a hard disk to a backup hard disk, than to copy the same file to an on-line server.

Broadband internet is fast at downloading files from the internet to your local disk, but often deathly slow when uploading files, because ISP's typically give no priority to uploading, applying massive bandwidth throttling to preserve their very fast download times from being reduced by users who have the impertinence to want to choke the available bandwidth with file uploads.

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It's fine for low volume backups

With mine, the initial backup took a little over a month. But, once that was done, most of the individual file backups are finished within minutes of the file being written to disk.

The exception is, of course, video. An hour of video takes five or six hours to upload to the cloud. I actually pause the cloud backup while I upload to YouTube, and it turns itself back on 24 hours later. So, the videos only exist on my system and the NAS for the first coupla days.

My sports videos are just a hobby, so I don't care that they're not backed up offsite immediately. And, I only have one or two per week.

Albeit, someone who is uploading videos as their livelihood would probably be paying for much higher bandwidth, anyway.

And, finally, in cases of a full restore, most of these cloud operators will provide a hard drive with your entire backup.

Drake Christensen

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My Opinion IS A Month Is Way To Slow.

I have 40 MBPS download but only 5 +/- MBPS upload. Using that ratio and a hypothetical 30 day upload that would five me almost four days to download everything if I had a catastrophic failure of some kind. For me that is totally unacceptable. Additionally, with that much data going up or down the pipe, that does that do to other day-to-day internet and/or home entertainment use while you are doing that process.

My main backups are image backups and I do save some files to SpiderOak just to also have them elsewhere. But I can be back fully operational with all my programs and date in well under two hours from both image backups.

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Multiple simultaneous solutions

As I indicated in my post, I also have a NAS. So, in most situations, I have all my data on-site. But, in the case of fire, theft, Cryptlocker, or some other catastrophic loss, I have a separate off-site copy of everything, usually within minutes of up-to-date. Defense in depth. With the added bonus of requiring no manual steps on my part to make it happen, like plugging in an external drive.

Yes, the month-long backup is a long time. But, it's a one-time deal. (Also, I throttled my upload, because I have a roommate, and didn't want to be a jerk and swamp his bandwidth.) After that initial copy, it's (generally) an intermittent trickle.

I would never trust a cloud backup as my only backup. (I have read of a small number of people needing their backup and finding out that it wasn't there.) But, I think it's a reasonable extra layer to a robust backup system.

Drake Christensen

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Call me a little paranoid ...

I use multiple backup methods, in part depending on what I'm backing up.

All data from my two computers gets backed up automatically to a Synology DS213j NAS running Synology Hybrid RAID.

Text and word processor files, maintenance logs and the like also go to a cloud service; I'm using a free account limited to 2GB, so I don't send everything there.I use the cloud as a "belt and suspenders" backup for the NAS.

Specific data gets backed up to optical media, as do downloaded program files.

Some program discs get copied onto "work copy" optical media, and the originals go into storage.

The boot drive was cloned onto an external HDD when I first set up the computer, and I have refreshed it a few times since. A second external HDD holds a clone of the OS and some (but not all) of my apps.

If I'm working on a writing project (which I haven't, lately) I'll generally keep the current version synchonized on both desktop and laptop machines. I prefer the desktop computer for writing at home, but this way I can grab the laptop when the urge to travel strikes me, and work -- or not -- as I please while I'm on the road. While I can (and do) connect with my home network and NAS anywhere I have Internet access, I'll also burn daily-work copies onto optical media just in case something goes wrong at home while I'm away.

Is all this work overkill? Probably, but I haven't lost anything I really needed in years, and don't intend to.

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Recovering BackUp Fanatic, Paranoia, Obsessive, Compulsive!

I have purchased every piece of backup software and media available.

Backups, backup research, purchasing, worrying, planning and arguing, I have done them all.

Tapes, disks, sticks, dvd, imaging and much more and almost blue ray!

I probably spent upwards of $1,000 a year for 10 years plus.

I spent countless daily, weekly and monthly HOURS.

Gone, no more, done with all that.

I am now in BackUp Heaven.

To be honest, it took more than a year to recover my backup related illnesses.

I found my personal answer after resisting it for about 6 months.

Even when I started and did frequent downloads for testing it proved itself 100% reliable.

I do not work for them. I don't even know where they are. I have had to recover twice in the last 6 years. It worked perfectly each time. In fact, my isp warned me that I had exceeded the normal bandwidth because of the terabytes downloaded for recovery!

Look them up for yourself and evaluate and validate their product. Its name is "backblaze." I think I pay less than $5 a month. The most difficult part was that I could not backup the OS. That drove me nuts for awhile. Then, later, I fully understood and accepted it.

Now instead of the daily and weekly backup concerns, work and paranoia, I don't even think about it.

I have graduated to backup heaven.

PS. I do check it about once every 3 months to see if all is well; it is and has been Happy

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If you are going to spend $60 a year...

Why not just use SugarSync and have everything backed up automatically to the cloud when a file is created or modified. Their basic plan is $75 a year, granted a few dollars more, and the limit for that is 250GB, with more available. With cloud backup and syncing to any other computer, I'd say it would be worth checking out.

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How I back-up.

I fully understand the attraction of what you do. However, you can back up your system too by making a clone. You will need to buy, instal, and partition a new additional drive. Huge sizes are available cheap. You could extend your system capacity very cheaply at the same time. Here's the software you need:-
http://www.seagate.com/gb/en/support/downloads/discwizard/
Mine came with the new SEAGATE disk I had purchased and one disk in your PC needs to match with this manufacturer. {I think Maxtor & Seagate are now one & the same}.

I do all my data back-ups with a free Microsoft programe called Synctoy. Here is is:
http://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/download/details.aspx?id=15155
I chose the "CONTRIBUTE" option which overwites when anything is changed. You can choose "Echo" or "Synchronize" - all explained in simple language. It can be automatically scheduled or started manually with a few clicks.

Way to go!

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Time Machine-like to a NAS, plus cloud backup service

I have three machines that I use regularly. I back them all up locally to a Synology DS213 NAS. (Upgraded from a Linksys DNS-321. The Linksys worked, but Synology is much nicer.) In addition, I have a paid subscription to CrashPlan, for off-site backup. I set up a similar configuration for my mom's computer, including adding her as a fourth machine on my CrashPlan subscription (the subscription covers unlimited data on up to ten computers.)

On two of my machines, I'm running AutoVer. On the third, I'm running Yadis! Backup. These are Time Machine-like programs that back up continuously. A few minutes after a program is finished writing to a file, the backup program copies it to the NAS. They keep several version, so I can go back if I need to.

AutoVer has been working well for years on the two machines. But, the author has had trouble devoting time to the program, and so it's teetering on the edge of becoming abandonware. That prompted me to search for an alternative, and I stumbled on Yadis. It has been behaving well on the third machine.

CrashPlan is also a Time Machine-like system, that copies continuously, and stores multiple versions. That came in handy, once, when I recovered a file from there for my mom.

One issue that I think is important in a backup is that it is stored on a different computer than the one being backed up. There are several scenarios I can think of where Windows can get confused enough that it could thrash the directories of any internal drives, or any drives connected by USB. The host system is managing everything on the drives in both of those configurations. So, I'm a big fan of a dedicated NAS, or taking an older computer and putting a big hard drive in it and using it effectively like a NAS. That way, in most situations, if the main system gets really confused, it can't trash the machine holding the backup.

I'm very pleased with my backup system. It gives me great peace of mind. I'm fully backed up essentially all the time. And, with the multiple versions, I can even recover from some really fumble-fingered mistakes.

The CrashPlan facet of my backup scheme also protects against ransomware like Cryptlocker.

Drake Christensen

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Backblaze and SpiderOak, Followed by Glacier

I have three computers I use routinely for personal work. I use Spideroak to synchronize the information across computers and keep everything current. I use Backblaze on my main computer that is always turned on, and I have that set for auto backup with automatic throttle. As I work on other computers and SpiderOak synchronizes, Backblaze just backs up. And occasionally as I move files into an archive, I upload them to Amazon S3 Glacier using FastGlacier.

I also pay for my mother and my wife to have their computers on Backblaze, and I get weekly reports about backups. I will also get an alert if for some reason a computer isn't backing up - such as when my mother went on a trip and her computer was off for a week.

I use Backblaze because it backs up everything automatically. My daughter and her husband also use Backblaze. That was after an unfortunate incident where my daughter was using another cloud backup that her friends had recommended and her hard drive crashed on her Mac. Whoops - all of her photos (she's an avid photographer doing occasional pro work) were in a path that wasn't being backed up. She was a poor law student and had to pay a chunk of money to have the data on her hard drive recovered. She now uses Backblaze. Her husband's Vista computer become corrupted the other night, so he's just wiping everything and is going to reinstall data from Backblaze.

I have totally gotten out of keeping backups at home because tornadoes, earthquakes and fires are a real part of where I live. Imagine having your home destroyed AND all of your computer data. Bu hao.

And don't forget turning on backups on your phone. I have a Note 3, and all photos back up to Google Plus when I'm on Wifi.

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backing up over existing

I have a usb external drive that I used for the clone protocol that came with win8. I have just recently purchased Acronis 14 to start doing the job and am wondering if I need to erase the older clone image and start over with Acronis or will it just over write the existing files? I want to start doing incremental and not just a clone of when it was a new drive and OS. If the older files need to be erased how do I go about this as I see no erase option when I plug the drive in?

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No Need to Erase the Win8 Files Unless....

Hi mtbarebee

I'll assume you know how to view the file/backups stored on your external drive. Just in case you don't...From the Win8 desktop select and double click "This PC" or access the Win8 Charms Bar and type "This PC" in the search field and hit "Enter". With either action you see your external USB drive....double click the drive to view the files.

If available space on the external drive is not a concern then there is no need to remove the Win8 Clone/Backup files.

Acronis 14 will not overwrite the Win8 files as every backup software assigns its own digital signature to the backups it creates. In the event a recovery needs to be done the Acronis 14 will only access the backups that show its digital signature and the same applies to those created by Win8.

If you prefer....To remove files right click the file and select "delete" or "cut". To start with a clean drive - right click the drive and select "format" which will erase all data. Be sure to select NTFS as the format structure. FAT32 should only be selected in scenarios where a non-windows OS on another computer (i.e. OSX, Linux, UNIX) is sharing the same backup drive.

Together Everyone Achieves More (TEAM)

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What I Consider to Be the Basics

I've been doing backups from the earliest days of MS-DOS and DAT tapes and continue to do them. This might not apply to everyone but hopefully some of this will help.

What I'm using now is Nero BackitUp on my home PC and I'm using a large USB drive for storage. At work, we did things differently with our servers. We used Symantec NetBackup with a lot of the options in order to back up VMware, Windows, SQL, Exchange, etc. to our backup server hosting a tape library as we sent tapes off-site. Before that I used Symantec Backup Exec to a SAN-based tape library.

The basis here is: "How important is what you are backing up?"! The added emphasis is RTO (return to operation) which is the amount of time you can be down before a restore is done and RPO which is the amount of data that you are willing to "lose". In some cases, you are not allowed to lose anything so you have to adjust you methods accordingly. Otherwise, you can use a system more economical. For example, why bother backing up Windows itself? You have the installation disks. Well, maybe that takes too long so you want software that has a boot media to get you up fast and then you can take the time on the backup end to backup everything.

On your PC, you have to remember that it is not always going to be the case or restoring a crashed HDD or accidental system disaster. It may be a case of you overwrote a file 2-3 weeks ago and now you need to go WAY BACK to restore a copy. In that case, you will need multiple backups. In my case, I have a large enough backup device that I can keep FIVE full backups of my system. That way, with weekly backups, I can go back usually as far as I need to recover data.

So, in terms of what AARON is saying, it is great to use a RAID 5 or RAID 6 system where you might have your data spread over three drives and then the fourth drive contains parity information to rebuild the system if a drive goes away, but that can't handle the case where you accidentally overwrite a file and don't realize it for weeks. For that matter, in a RAID system, it won't help if you simply delete a file because it would mirror the deletion all over the place. You still need to COPY or BACKUP the data to somewhere and keep several cycles of that.

The important thing is to evaluate YOUR needs and costs (and time is a cost) and determine what is best for you remembering that a backup scheme should not only handle a disaster of HDD failure but also quiet issues such as a file being deleted or overwritten without you realizing it over a period of time.

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whats a backup????

I just keep all important files in online email accounts, disk and external drive - nothing fancy. Not too concern about installed programs and os.

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Thank you for sharing your thoughts and suggestions!

I'm writing this response on Wednesday (1/14/15) to give Lee enough time to insert a link in his commentary. While the response was not overwhelming at the time of this writing (11 to be exact) I do want to thank everyone who shared their thoughts and suggestions. To those who chime in later - thank you as well.

On the subject of "...how do you do it" (back up your data) there were no wrong answers only a sharing of ideas and personal choice(s). The only wrong answer - if you will allow - would be to say that "one has no backup scheme of any type". That IMO is a mistake of epic proportions that may foster dire consequences.

It was a little surprising to see the number of responses that employ a cloud service. Granted the majority (cloud services) were mentioned as a supplement to USB attached or NAS backup scheme. However, it does suggest that the confidence levelof one's data being secure in a cloud service - free or paid - is on the rise. Although it remains to be seen if cloud services will become more of the norm rather than the exception (supplemental) for backups. That's probably a topic for another time...maybe in a year or so...ya think?

Funny...I found it a bit ironic that the prior week's question posed by Steven - Ransomware: How do you prevent it from happening and if held up, do you pay? - contained the following tidbit in Lee's commentary:

"...The first thing most members mentioned is that if you have your data backed up regularly, then even if your computer is held up for ransom there is no need to worry because nothing is lost. Backing up your data is the first line of defense".

So, if you've been procrastinating on implementing a regular backup of your data hopefully the previous statement and those submitted in this exchange of information on the subject will encourage you to setup a backup scheme...yesterday. It doesn't have to be so elaborate that it requires an IT professional. Simple, works.

Once again thanks to everyone for participating...back up your data and safe computing! .

Aaron J.

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It seems that people are getting a bit more intelligent.

It wasn't so long ago that I remember that people were praising RAID for backup. Perhaps this whole deal with ransom ware has actually brought about a bit of realization between the difference of hardware failure and software corruption. Now I would suggest that the biggest issue now is the difference between incremental and full backups on a schedule. Besides the timing and the problem of bit rot, as we move from tapes and physical media, this seems like the logical next step. As I see it though we are moving to a enterprise backup schedule to the desktop, which is a good thing in the long run.

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Cloud backup is the way of the future and now!

Lee, I am surprised by your comment regarding cloud backup. Imo it's proven itself and it does not require any interaction on your part other than to start the service. I personally use Google drive and aside from backing all my data , I can easily share individual folders with ease. Imo, there is less risk in Google going away than if someone were to steal my raid nas drives or if my house burned down.

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Friendly Clarification

Hi jorge8850

The post you are replying to was not Lee's comment.

It's great that you at least have a backup scheme in place. However, using a cloud service (Google Drive) as your one and only repository for your data may be a bit risky. Granted a house fire destroying a USB or NAS storage device is catastropic - but a data breach on a server could have the same consequences in terms of privacy (think Jennifer Lawrence) or a total corruption of your data. Gone is Gone in any case.

Conventional wisdom suggests using a combination when possible and not rely too heavily on either for full data protection. Today we have choices unlike 6 or 7 years ago. I have iCloud, TimeMachine (NAS) and a Windows NAS in place. Although nothing is fool proof I keep my network locked downed with lots of encryption and there's nothing in iCloud that could ruin (financial) or embarrass me. Hmmm...judging from my last statement....I guess my most important data (i.e. HD/SSD clones, critical files and personal information) are stored on my NAS devices.

As far as cloud storage being the way of the future for the vast majority...I'm not yet convinced. People still need to be educated on how backups work and the choices available to them. There are some who actually think that information is stored in a "Cloud". Then there's still the security issue with hackers targeting high profile servers on a rising scale - think Sony.

Here's an excert from an article I read. Although it refers to corporate use of the cloud...IMO it can be applied to the average consumer as well. The 15% referenced may be larger today but I doubt by very much.

Copied from an article By Jeffrey Schwartz 03/04/2013 - Redmond Magazine

Many Moving Cautiously-
Despite such growth, most companies are still reluctant to back up large amounts of their data to the public cloud. For example, Acronis International GmbH, a supplier of backup and recovery software for small, medium and large enterprises, started offering its customers the option to back up their data to an IaaS it built out two years ago with more than 12 datacenters worldwide.
So far, only 15 percent of its capacity is being used for backup and recovery, according to Steve Erdman, Acronis senior VP and general manager for global business development. "It's still a low percentage of capacity," Erdman says. "We work with our customers to get them over the natural hesitation, but it's not an exploding market yet."


Didn't mean to make this reply so lengthy...my apologies. However, I believe it's safe to say that backups are important and it's great to have choices. We just have to choose wisely.

Together Everyone Achieves More (TEAM)

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I Agree

Call me paranoid, but I do not trust the cloud. I am concerned about hacking within the cloud, attacks against infrastructure, etc. While no plan if foolproof, I want my primary backups onsite where I have physical control of them and not be depending on the existence of the cloud to be able to retrieve my files.

For others reading this and use the cloud as your primary form of backup I ask you to ponder how long it takes you to restore your complete system in the case of a catastrophic failure of your HDD or SSD? With my system I can be totally restored and fully operational within an hour of replacing a failed drive in my computer. The cloud cannot do that with any degree of timeliness.

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Response to "Friendly clarification"

Hi ajtrek,

I can't argue with any of your points, they are all valid. But, I still stand by my opinion on why cloud backup is best, for 3 reasons:
1. No matter which backup process you adhere to, it is a process and requires your attention. Many folks on this forum admit that it takes discipline and I believe the common PC user tends to go lax.
2. A physical drive media in your home or elsewhere can be stolen, or destroyed, leaving you with no data.
3. Your data sources change over time, requiring you to update your backup process.

With that, I suggest we assign risk to to whatever backup solution is used, because they are all valid solutions.

I believe that google drive is less risky to me than having to deal with a backup process using an external hard drive. Keep in mind that my google drive data exists in all my devices, and on the cloud. Cloud goes away, i still have my data in at least two of my laptops and even my music on my smartphone.

In summary, if you are highly disciplined, and your backup drives are in a well protected place, then you probably have minimal risk backing up to your local hard drive.
If you can't afford to look after your backup processes and don't have a well protected place for your backup media, then I recommend a cloud solution. Once set up, it takes no effort for your data to just be backed up! Does require an internet connection, but, who doesn't have one these days.
On the point of security, google has one of the best "two step" sign on processes available. Aside from giving up your password willingly, I doubt that my password can be breached. I know anything is possible here, but again, that is the risk I am willing to take, given the ease of use on google drive. I do pay $1.99 a month for 100GB of storage. Totally worth it to me.
I believe other cloud storage would suffice as well as google drive, but I have no experience with them.

geo

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At Work

We were not allowed to use Google services because we were a criminal justice agency dealing with criminal justice data. Google was not compliant with the federal data CJIS standards for security and privacy. Not so much because Google admits that they scan or read each and every piece of data that goes their way. Because they refuse to have background checks on their employees. You might want to read up on the City of Los Angeles and their issues with Google (with respect to L.A.P.D.).

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