Busi­ness backup

On­line backup is es­sen­tial for any busi­ness – es­pe­cially if they’re se­ri­ous about their data

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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.

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