Monday, 8 June 2015

Rabbit-proof your Data!

I wasn't asking for much; just a way of backing up my 100+ GB of data updated daily,  that is simple, reliable, automatic and cheap!

We’re all quite aware of what we stand to lose in the event of a hard-drive failure, so I won’t flap on about that. Except to suggest in my case, that the cost of re-doing clients’ artwork would cost my business dearly in terms of time lost, and client service capability.  So, I take my internet security and backup requirements pretty seriously.

That said, my backups in the past were never as frequent and secure as I’d have liked. 

Manual backups were time-costly and dependant on my organisational capabilities (which vary like anyone else's).

‘Automated’ local backups that I tried still needed to be set and run, and were still physically vulnerable anyway.

Cloud backups sounded like the answer.  However, finding one that suited me was not as easy as I'd hoped.  Many general cloud-data services sell themselves as a backup resource in their list of features, but they’re not all created equal.  And some will take a few coins too.  My first experience with a paid-service proved buggy and frustrating. Thankfully I never needed to use it in urgency.

Eventually though, I found something I feel is worthy of sharing… CrashPlan.

And not a moment too soon...!

At the start of April I noticed my PC was running a little slower and the Hard-drive was whirring a little more than it should.

Instead of shutting down that evening, I left the PC run and do the automatic backup I’d set.

I got the old thing going ok next day, but not without Uncle Bill’s popup telling me that failure of the hard-drive was imminent, and I should perform a backup now.  I followed this advice, attempting to create a disc-image to conveniently restore my system later (to the new hard-drive I was about to go in search of).

Guess what. The hard-drive was too far gone and Windows couldn't do the backup image.  If it hadn’t been for the automated CrashPlan backup, the impact to me, my business and my clients would have been detrimental to say the least.

With over 100GB of current work, it took a while (like a couple of days) to restore. But sure enough, it all downloaded exactly as it was supposed to. (A bit like Pro-Computers, but they took 10 days! Tell them I said-so if you’re in there!)

So, my tip of the week... CrashPlan
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