The ul­ti­mate so­lu­tion

The more lev­els of backup you im­ple­ment, the safer your data will be

Mac Format - - SUBSCRIBE -

Build­ing a back-up sys­tem isn’t a case of pick­ing one op­tion and ig­nor­ing the oth­ers. The more pro­cesses you have run­ning to­gether, the bet­ter, as a greater num­ber of them will need to fail in se­quence be­fore you risk los­ing all of your data.

At a bare min­i­mum we rec­om­mend run­ning both a Time Ma­chine backup and some form of re­mote stor­age sys­tem si­mul­ta­ne­ously. Our pref­er­ence for the lat­ter would be an in­ter­net-based ser­vice such as Crash­Plan that runs the whole time your Mac is switched on and con­nected to the net.

Do it your­self

if you pre­fer not to pay a sub­scrip­tion you can sim­u­late the ef­fect of the afor­men­tioned ser­vices – al­beit with less con­ve­nience and a lit­tle less se­cu­rity – by per­form­ing man­ual back­ups to a se­ries of ex­ter­nal drives that you then store in a dif­fer­ent build­ing to your Mac. If you’re a home user, then so long as your em­ployer has no ob­jec­tions the so­lu­tion could be as sim­ple as stor­ing those drives in your desk drawer at work.

When you have a range of si­mul­ta­ne­ous back­ups you can stag­ger the in­ter­vals at which they’re per­formed, with the more cum­ber­some op­tions con­ducted less fre­quently than the au­to­mated sys­tems. So, if you’re us­ing Car­bon Copy Cloner to du­pli­cate the con­tents of your in­ter­nal stor­age on an ex­ter­nal drive you might only per­form this weekly or fort­nightly, while run­ning Time Ma­chine and on­line backup con­tin­u­ously.

It’s easy to be­come com­pla­cent, but it’s im­per­a­tive you mon­i­tor each backup. Ex­ter­nal drives have a fi­nite life, called the Mean Time Be­fore Fail­ure (MTBF) that acts as a guide to how long is can be ex­pected to run be­fore it de­vel­ops a fault. Make sure you know what the MTBF is as us­ing the drive for con­tin­u­ous backup will eat into the hours more quickly than oc­ca­sional use. Cal­cu­late how far through the al­lo­ca­tion you are and swap it out be­fore you hit the limit, even if it ap­pears to be work­ing prop­erly.

Em­ploy­ing mul­ti­ple back-up rou­tines side by side gives you the best pro­tec­tion for your files and fold­ers.

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