By Ron Rosenberg
It's not a matter of "if" - it's a matter of "when." I'm talking about that gut-wrenching moment when you realize your computer has crashed, taking along with it everything on your hard drive or SSD storage device.
In this day and age when virtually everything in our lives is stored digitally somewhere, it's absolutely essential to include some form of offsite backup in your daily routine. Fortunately, this can be done easily, automatically, and, best of all, affordably!
There are several good options for this (we had been using Carbonite for many years), but we recently switched to another solution, Backblaze.
Good question. There have been more than a few times when, for one reason or another, we've had to completely restore the contents of a hard drive, and we were able to do that more or less successfully.
The problem happened with our most recent disk crash when I discovered that Carbonite hadn't actually been backing up our video files. Now, this wasn't a complete catastrophe because the final versions of our webinars and other videos are stored on our Amazon S3 server for easy access from our websites.
But there were many original source files that were lost, and this did create some serious problems for us.
I understand that videos take up massive amounts of storage space and later discovered that you can manually "tweak" the Carbonite settings to force it to backup video files.
But as we're becoming more serious about our photography, the images we capture and transfer to our computers can be very large. And since each one can be up to 25 MB, this can add up quickly.
So all of this gave us enough reason to look again and consider all of our options.
Several reasons, actually. First, and most relevant is that it backs up all of your data files, irrespective of type, size, or quantity. This means you don't have to worry about important files getting lost permanently when your disks crash, and there's no limit on the total size of your backups.
When the need arises, you can certainly restore your files directly from the backup servers, but depending on your bandwidth this can take a significant amount of time. Backblaze offers the option of shipping you a 128 GB flash drive or an external drive of up to 4 TB.
The cost for the flash drive (with your selected files loaded) is just $99, and for the 4 TB drive, it's just $189. These are sent overnight by FedEx, and you can return the devices within 30 days for a full refund. Believe me, it takes much less time to transfer files from a directly connected device than it does to download them!
While the basic version of Carbonite only allows you to backup files on internal drives, Backblaze lets you also back up files on external hard drives. Backblaze also lets you specify the threading and throttling setting of the backups to achieve the best balance of speed and performance.
And aside from some other technical features, there's one final benefit: it costs less than the other options.
So if you're not automatically backing up your files to a cloud server, please do your own research, select the solution that works best for you, and add this functionality to your computer as soon as possible!