Online backup is essential for any business – especially if they’re serious about their data
Backup is particularly important in the workplace, since the implications of losing your data are legal, as well as financial.
In many cases, this data – such as customer lists and any digital products you sell – will have accumulated over the years. Recreating those products can be time consuming, and rebuilding the contacts may be impossible. And so a weak back-up regime might cost you money.
However, the legal ramifications are more serious and come into play on a monthly basis as you use locally hosted accounts data to file RTI payroll returns to HMRC, and annually when you compile your end-ofyear accounts. Lose the records that underpin either of these and you face a fine or prosecution. That’s why business users need to step up to the next level, and why cutting corners by sticking with local backups or no backups is a false economy. By outsourcing your back-up process to a remote service, such as CrashPlan (code42. com), you’ll have peace of mind knowing your data is being passively and securely (it’s encrypted) moved off your premises the whole time your Mac is turned on. It’s stored in one of CrashPlan’s remote data centres so even if your building burns down you can claim for a new Mac on your insurance, install the CrashPlan client and download a copy of your backups onto the new machine the following day.
Get a plan
If you’re a sole trader or you just have one Mac to back up, opt for the Individual plan. It starts at $5 per month (dropping to $3.96 if you sign up for four years). The Family plan costs $12.50 a month and covers up to 10 machines, but if you have a larger workplace you should take a look at the Business option, which covers an unlimited number of machines at $10 per month per Mac.
The CrashPlan client is lightweight and easy to set up, allowing you to choose when the system is running and what to include or exclude in the back-up set. There’s no limit on the amount of online storage you use, so you can back up everything unless you have a reason for excluding some folders.
Even if you don’t want to back up remotely, we’d urge you to download the CrashPlan client and take advantage of its free local network back-up tools that let you create a secondary copy of your system (or a part of it) on any other machine on your network with automatic backups once a day. CrashPlan is far from the only remote back-up service open to Mac users, though. Carbonite (carbonite.com) offers a similar
service with its $60 (£39) a year Basic package. (Its Plus and Prime packages that add external hard-drive backups are Windows-only.) iDrive (idrive.com) backs up PCs, Macs and mobile devices, including iPads and iPhones, for free if you need less than 5GB storage, or $44.62 (£28) a year for 1TB. It will even send you a physical copy of your data should you prefer not to download it in the event of a disaster.
If you prefer to keep your backups closer to home, Retrospect (retrospect.com/uk/products/ mac) runs a local back-up service across your network that aims to minimise the amount of time it takes to create an archive of your data (see above). The latest version of its client – version 12 – has cut back-up times by as much as 50%, yet remains compatible with earlier editions, going back to Retrospect 6.1, so your backups remain accessible for a very long time.
It looks out for duplicate files to reduce the amount of data it needs to process, maintains multiple independent back-up sets and supports external media, including NAS drives, cloud storage, tape drives and flash drives.
It is a little more complicated to buy and install than the flatter services from the likes of CrashPlan and Carbonite, but a helpful configurator (retrospect.com/uk/store/configure) walks you through the process of choosing the appropriate application, with a series of common sense questions. The basic option, which costs £84, lets you back up five regular Macs. Add a Mac acting as a server into the mix increases the price to £396.
Back up many computers to the same online account to move your data offsite.