Automated Cloud Backup

An Important Part of Disaster Recovery

I cannot begin to count the number of times someone has brought me a dead computer or dead flash drive or dead CD or dead disk which contains their only copy of something very, very important. When I ask about their backups, invariably the answer is "Well, I meant to back up!" Sadly, the computing deities don't give points for good intentions.

This is particularly tragic when the files lost are pictures of children, pets, loved ones who have passed, or important life events like marriages. Back in the day, we could always go to the negatives and have another set of prints run, but nowadays we have exactly one copy of our most precious memories, unless we back them up.

But as we saw above, humans are fallible. Our memory is never as good as we think it is, and the road to lost data is paved with good intentions. Making backups happen automatically, so you don't have to think about it, is far preferable to losing all your data. This is equally true for the individual and for the enterprise.

Backup for Businesses

Many businesses have servers, and IT people. Those IT people can write code that will regularly save all the documents created by the employees up to the server, where they will then back them up to another server or to tape. Now there are three copies: one on the laptop/desktop, one on the server, and one on the tape. Which is pretty good (unless you're involved in Disaster Recovery).

Backup for Individuals

But individuals don't usually have those sorts of resouces on hand. So automating backup procedures for them becomes a much more involved process.

Or, at least, it used to. Nowadays there are products like Carbonite and Copy. Carbonite costs $60 per year; Copy is free for the first 15 Gigabytes. If you use the link above (and here), and install the desktop client, you get an extra 5G free, for a total of 20G (and so do I!)

Scheduling Your Peace of Mind

What's nice about Carbonite and Copy is that they automate the backup process so you don't have to think about it. In both cases, just pick a folder, and from now on that folder and all the files and folders in it will be backed up. Simple, easy, convenient.

And speaking of peace of mind, what about security? Both Carbonite and Copy have secure connections, and the folks at Copy say they encrypt your data at the other end, too. I have no way to verify that, of course, but I also have no reason to doubt them.

My suggestion? Grab Carbonite or (my preference) Copy, install the desktop client, and get that 20G. Point whichever one you pick at your Documents folder (or, if you're buying lots of storage) your Pictures folder, and stop worrying.

Oh - one other nice thing about Copy: once you've set up a folder, you can put a shortcut to another folder inside it, and that folder will also be backed up! You're still limited to your 15G (or 20G!), but how convenient is that?


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