So many people are caught with their pants down in regards to backing up their data. A lot of my clients have a similar story. “It’ll never happen to me, I’m super careful!” That is until they come into our repair shop. Stories similar to the following. You’re happily typing up your morning Facebook post when your four year old runs over to show you something just as you lift your coffee to your mouth. The little tyke’s head collides with your elbow sending your coffee cascading down over your laptop keyboard in a scene reminiscent of those “As Seen On TV” commercials:
After recovering from your initial shock, you look up to your screen only to see it is now blank. The first wave of panic sets in as you try to dry the caffeine soaked keyboard (that’s a good band name). “It’s okay… It’ll be okay. It’ll dry and start back up… I’m sure of it.” You even consider going to Costco and buying an industrial size bag of rice to put the entire laptop in. It works for phones, it’ll work for your laptop, right?
You press the power button after it’s initial drying and still, nothing. Full panic set in as you realize all of your children’s baby photos are stored in your pictures folder. You also realize that you have over $200-$300 worth of games (and their accompanying saves) stored on your local drive. Your entire music collection that you have spent countless hours cataloging and sorting in iTunes?
Yep, all there too and unfortunately, you have not been backing up any of it. You have an external hard drive that you did a backup with a few years ago when you first bought the drive but that was the last time.
This all could have been avoided.
The purpose of this post is to tell you that I have some simple solutions for backing up that won’t break the bank. I’m going to focus primarily on backup solutions for your home PC. We live in a day and age where we need simplicity. Gone are the days of requiring 4 external hard drives and swapping them out daily and putting them in a fireproof safe. That’s a good method but not the most efficient, nor the safest. Unless you’re using a Solid State drive, constantly moving hard drives around can bork (Kenny Speak for “Break”) a drive at the drop of a hat. I’m going to lay out 3 of my recommendations for cloud backup solutions.
This is first on my list for a few reasons. Honestly, it’s the most recognizable for the general public. There are three pricing options for their services and I’ll break down the pro’s and con’s.
The biggest bonus to Carbonite’s flat fee structure and our ever growing Hard Drive sizes is their unlimited cloud storage. For $60/year, that’s a strong selling point. I’ve dealt with Carbonite’s support as team during loss of data situations and their support is top notch. For the basic plan, keep in mind that there are limitations. First, you can not backup an external drive, nor will video files be automatically added to your backups (You’ll need to incorporate them manually).
The Plus and Prime personal plans do, however, feature Mirror Image Backups for Windows Users (not yet for Mac). What this means is, it will back up your entire computer (Operating system and all) and not just your files. The winner in this case: the $99/year plan. I personally can’t justify the $150/year just to have video files automatically added to your backup. But that’s just me. Also of note, Carbonite automatically encrypts your data with 128-bit encryption with the option to switch to an even more secure 256-bit encryption but that takes a bit of setup.
This is a service I’ve been using with a lot of my clients, residential and business a like. Jungledisk features a different model than Carbonite
with a “pay as you go” service. Your first 10GB of data is always free per month. There is an automatic $4 charge per month to use the service and essentially “reserve” your space with Jungle Disk. After that first 10GB, each GB is $.15. The biggest plus to Jungle Disk is you are paying for compressed backups (it will backup all of your files, then compress them on their servers). So there is a bit of math that is needed. For example, if you have 250GB of data you want backed up, $4 for the server plus 240GB worth of data (roughly $36 but we’ll shave off six for compression rates) giving you a total of $34 per month.
While this is significantly more pricey than Carbonite, you get automatic backups of all of your files (video included) as well as automatic 256-bit encryption, no setup required. Jungle Disk also allows network drive, external drive, and no max file size for backups. So depending on which way you’d like to go, Jungle Disk actually may be the route to go. Jungle Disk even has iOS and Android support for tablets and phones. Another plus? If you have your own Amazon S3 account, you can use THAT as your backup.
I know this isn’t a traditional option as it’s simple online storage but this service can also be used for Backing up your files as well. I have personally setup business clients with this option and it worked pretty seamlessly. Pricing is simple. Dropbox has three options that begin with Free (who doesn’t like free? That was rhetorical but if you raised your hand, you’re a liar) which gives you 2GB free. For anyone with a personal computer that is newer than 1996, this will not be sufficient. The Dropbox Pro is pretty standard. For $99/year, you can pick up 1TB of online storage. The best part of Dropbox is that your files are stored locally on your computer (and any other device you install dropbox on).
This allows for your files to be accessed with the speed of having them right on your drive, but also having them in the cloud for easy access on mobile and tablet devices. Dropbox Pro also allows for 30 days of backups of files. This is EXTREMELY handy when you run across accidentally deleted files or a virus infection. But my recommendation goes a tad farther than that (with good reason). Dropbox Pro with Extended Versioning was a life saver for at least 3 of my clients last year alone. As I stated on a Facebook Live video recently, ransomware is becoming more and more prevalent and having versioning is absolutely imperative. Adding this feature is only $49/year for a total of $150/year.
My recommendation? Dropbox Pro with Extended Versioning. With Dropbox, it gives you encryption on your file uploads at 128-bit and it is then stored on their servers at 256-bit encryption for extra protection. File recovery is simple and their dashboard is easy to use. Setup is a cinch, as well.
Overall, the above three options are services I’ve used in the past, relatively easy to setup, and all have been around long enough to for me to believe that they are not going anywhere any time soon.
All solutions above also work for Mac users and even though iCloud can be a useful tool, it also can be a little stubborn (or as I explain it, more stubborn than Olivia was on The Cosby Show… that is an obscure reference but you get my meaning) when trying to work with Microsoft Products. Below I’ve added in a video of a Facebook Live chat I had speaking candidly about the above. If you would like help setting up your backup solutions, drop me a line and I can help you get setup. Until next time!