Taxes, Dentist, Insurance…and Back-up

Ok…nobody really wants to have to think about backing up files and data and computers…let alone read about it. But hey…you know what they say about an ounce of prevention. It goes double for digital storage. If you consider the amount of time, energy and resources that go into the work represented by your digital assets and data systems, not having a solid back-up plan is like spending your life working to purchase artwork for your home and then walking away each day with the door unlocked (or wide open! Or in some cases, with a “free stuff” sign no the lawn!)

So…like taxes or the dentist or insurance…digital backup is just one of those things you have to do. It’s worth it for the sake of  your personal information. For a business, it’s that much more important. Especially if you want to take advantage of all the great new cloud technology and interconnectivity features out there.

It doesn’t have to cost a fortune, nor does it have to take much of your time once the system is set up.

The 3-2-1 Rule

3 copies of anything you care about – Two isn’t enough if it’s important.
2 different formats – Example: Dropbox+DVDs or Hard Drive+Memory Stick or CD+Crash Plan, or more
1 off-site backup – If the house burns down, how will you get your memories back?

It’s really that simple.

Here’s a simple scenario: One copy of any given file on your device (laptop), one in the cloud or a central storage system (Dropbox, Company server, NAS drive, etc.) and one on a dedicated archive or storage system such as Amazon Glacier or a physical hard drive you keep off-site.

Off-Site Storage

This is the biggest one, because it’s the safety net…in a worst case scenario (your house/office gets broken into or burns down) you’d lose both your computer and your hard drive, in which case it doesn’t matter how diligent you were about backing everything up every day.

Services like Dropbox, Google Drive, and other file syncing systems aren’t a bad option, but they’re really for working files and are an expensive archive solution. In the case of Big Picture Marketing & Design, they’re one of the three, but not the main archive.

Other systems like CrashPlan are very popular, for good reason. They do everything in the background, seamlessly and have good security.

Low-cost Archive Solution

If you have reams of old files and data that take up a lot of space and you want a long-term archive that you’ll likely never (or at least rarely) need to access, a new system from Amazon called Glacier is now available for large-volume back-up storage that is so inexpensive (~$0.01/GB/month!) as to make it seem crazy not to use it! The trade-off is that it’s slow (glacial!) and if you do need to access the contents of your archive, you’ll pay more for that and it won’t be instantly accessible (3-5hrs.) Nevertheless, as the third, off-site backup option in your 3-2-1 plan it fits the bill, and is cheap and apparently quite reliable.

The always helpful site LifeHacker has a couple great little pieces on Glacier:

?How to Use Amazon Glacier as a Dirt Cheap Backup Solution

Amazon Glacier Archives Your Important Data for a Penny per GB per Month

As well, here’s a great over-view/primer on back-up:

Set Up an Automated, Bulletproof File Back Up Solution