My friend’s hard drive just crashed on her and I really wouldn’t want that to happen to anyone. It’s either a hassle, a headache to get everything back, a breakdown when you don’t get everything back or all of the above.
Today, I’m taking the time to share with you how I back up my data so if it were to happen to me (ALL hard drives fail), I’ll simply blurt out first “Shit!!” and then calmly proceed in recovering all my stuff.
First, you absolutely need a backup cloud service. Dropbox, Box and Google Drive are probably the most popular but let me wear my salesman shoes and tell you why Cubby is more awesome.
The feature that I love the most is having the ability to make any folder on your hard drive sync up to the cloud. Box and Dropbox makes you put your folders you want to be synced in ONE folder and the be able to selectively sync which folder you want from there. Why does this matter? Simply, you can keep your current file structure on your computer and just choose which folders you want to sync. No need to separate your stuff into “sync only” folders.
Now what do I back up on Cubby? ALL my working files/documents. Meaning, I can access client invoices, agreements, storyboards, etc from past to present anywhere I need to.
I also have programs that you can save custom settings/preferences as text file and that too gets saved on Cubby (you’re a Mac user and you’re not using BetterTouchTool and Alfred? Shame. And note to self: I should write an article on how I use these two awesome tools.)
While I still have an external hard drive for my music and movies, times have changed as I now stream it online. For pictures however, I have multiple hard drives that are backups of backups.
(If you’re really curious, keep reading if not, skip to the next paragraph).
I have a 12TB RAID drive that houses the current year’s work of clients. I then have a 4TB drive that is a copy of that. Finally, I have another 4TB drive that is the archive drive once the year is up. All final images are also stored on my Zenfolio account.
But back to Cubby, it has many common features just like other Cloud services. You can share individual files from your desktop (Right-click files and generate a unique URL) as well as lock folders for privacy (protecting confidential information that shouldn’t be accessed by everyone within a shared folder). What other Cloud services don’t have however is DirectSync.
In a nutshell, DirectSync allows me to sync files (regardless of size) from one computer to another computer without affecting my total Cloud storage. Meaning, I can store a large PSD file of an image I’m working on one computer and when I use my desktop, that file is already there synced to the latest version.
And if my computer did get stolen, Cubby can remotely wipe all synced folders and files. (Nothing to boast here as other services can do this too).
In terms of pricing, 100GB is the standard number once you start paying. Let’s put it out there: no one will beat Google Drive’s awesome $1.99/month for 100GB of space. Here’s quick look of what you’ll be paying:
So Cubby if anything, is quite competitive at $3.99/month versus Dropbox’s and Google Drive. Most of these prices by the way are when you pay annually with a slightly higher fee if paid month-to-month.
Last but not least is a tool that every Mac user has but I’m gonna guess 1 out of 3 people use on a regular basis: Time Machine. Drop $110 already to get a 2TB drive and keep it at your desk. Whenever you sit down again to work, plug the drive and let it sync everything. It’s so simple yet it doesn’t get used often enough. When you finally delete something by accident, you’ll be thankful you’ll have it via Time Machine.
Now how do you be diligent about it? If you can build the habit by will, awesome. If you’re like me and needs someone or something to remind you, set up an alert.
The simplest? Google Calendar. Set up a recurring alert to both email and text you when it’s time to do a backup. The frequency just depends how often you’re creating, moving, and deleting files. I have a monthly backup for my company 8:45a at the end of each month.
While this post isn’t an in depth tutorial, it’s more of a reminder to back up your most important data on the Cloud and have a no-brainer physical backup on Time Machine on a consistent basis.
To sum it up:
1. Get a cloud service to continuously back up your important files I.e. Cubby, Dropbox, Box, etc. Be sure to save all of your program preferences here too like Alfred, BetterTouchTool, and 1Password (are you still saving your passwords in one document on your computer “hidden” from others? Another shame on you.)
2. Find a service/solution specifically for your photos (if you’re a photographer). Mine is working on images on a RAID drive, redundant external backups, and uploading final images to Zenfolio for both personal and client access.
3. Use Time Machine on a consistent basis to ensure all your files are backed up.
Happy [frequent] backing up y’all.