Wednesday, August 24, 2011

On Earthquakes and File Backup

I am sure that after yesterday's earthquake on the east coast (and apparently another one in Colorado yesterday as well), the internet and blogs will be aflutter with stories of what everyone went through yesterday.  For my end, I was at my desk and thought that it was yet another large truck bounding by on the highway, which for some reason shakes my building at times.  As the shaking lasted longer than usual, I realized that it was something else and sure enough, mere minutes later the radio was full of stories about the earthquake that just hit us.

As the building shook, I was thinking of the need for backup systems for my client files and what would happen if something happened to our office building.  The building was quickly evacuated, but not before I (and most of the others in the building) grabbed our most important pieces of technology.  For me, it was my iPad, which contains access to my client files so that I have access to my files wherever I go.  I observed others grabbing external hard drives, which I assume contained their backups as well.

But all of this shaking also reinforced the importance of having a "cloud" or other "off-site" backup of all of your files.  Especially when an event such as an earthquake affects such a large area, more so than just the destruction of your office building, it's important to have off-site backups.

Years ago, a firm I worked for had a tape backup that ran each day and the office manager was supposed to take it home with her so that a backup was stored offsite (she invariably never took the tape home and it was a particularly ineffective backup system in that regard).  So if you don't want to use tapes, what do you use these days?

For my end, I use a variety of online backups and systems to keep access to my firm files in a variety of locations.  In addition to the iPad, I also have an external hard drive that backs up the files weekly, a cloud-based syncing software and a cloud-based backup as well.

From the various programs I've been to and the ads I've seen and heard, it sounds like the leaders in the online backup field are Carbonite, Mozy and Zmanda.  Each one provides relatively similar pricing, and it's probably a matter of which interface works best for your individual needs, but without a doubt, yesterday's earthquake reminded us of the importance of backing up your files.

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