Need to backup your computer? Here’s how.

We all know it.

We’ve been told many times.

Everyone should be backing up their computers.

In our house, we’ve been backing up two iMac’s automatically to an Apple external hard drive called Time Capsule. It works great, but I’ve never felt that it was much of a backup solution. Here’s why. It only takes one power surge, even with surge protectors, to fry every computer and the Time Capsule. I won’t even think about a whole house disaster like a fire!

Imagine how you would feel if something or someone caused you to lose all your digital photos and computer files.

If the thought makes you feel slightly nauseous or even suicidal, you need a better backup system.

There is nothing 100%, guaranteed secure. Major disasters can happen. But an out-of-your-house-or-office copy of your files, encrypted and in the cloud, is a simple and safe solution. And it is finally an affordable solution!

Let me quickly explain the difference between Cloud Backup and Cloud Storage.

Cloud Backup – once set up, happens automatically. Encrypts ALL your files and photos and stores them securely on servers somewhere. You can recover a file or all of your files at any time from any device, even a smartphone or tablet.

Cloud Storage – typically used when you need accessibility to certain files from multiple devices or to save a little space on your hard drive. Great for sharing and editing the same file with multiple people. Too expensive, too labor intensive and not secure enough to use as a backup for all your files and photos. (i.e., Dropbox, Google Drive, iCloud)

In my own research to choose a Cloud Backup system for our family, I tried out three popular companies: Bitcasa, Backblaze and Crashplan. Here’s what I learned and decided to use:

  • Bitcasa
    • combines cloud backup for all files and the ability to synchronize some files that are stored on multiple devices (they call it mirroring). I found the mirroring to be incredibly slow and not very useful.
    • Expensive compared to the others. $100/yr for up to five computers, but only 1 Terabyte of storage. Unlimited storage for five computers is $1000/yr!
  • Backblaze
    • Simple to use.
    • Inexpensive for up to several computers because you purchase coverage per computer. About $50/year per computer for unlimited storage.
  • Crashplan
    • Not as simple to setup as Backblaze, but it’s not difficult.
    • The most bang for your buck, especially if you want to protect multiple computers. About $150/yr for the family plan (up to ten computers) for unlimited storage!
    • This is what I’m using to protect my children’s computers, my husband’s computers and mine.

This is very important! Crashplan is offering a 20% discount for new subscribers through March 31, 2014. Here is the link: https://www.code42.com/store/. Look for this at the top of the page: World Backup Day – Save 20% on any annual CrashPlan subscription. New subscribers only. Activate Now. >
(I have absolutely no affiliation with Crashplan! I’m just trying to help you start backing up and save $$$.)

If you decide to use Crashplan, I’ve put together a few quick tips on how to set it up. This article is getting too long, so you can download and/or print the tips here:
Crashplan Settings.pdf

Comment below if you have any questions about cloud backup or Crashplan. I’ll do my best to answer them!

2 replies
  1. Camille Condon
    Camille Condon says:

    Hi,
    I’am confused as usual. I thought that since my iPad and computer are now backed up on the icloud that if they were lost, stolen, fire, or water damage I could always somehow retrieve any and all information of information on new products.
    Thanking you in advance,
    Camille

    Reply
    • Lynn Huffman
      Lynn Huffman says:

      Hi Camille,
      This is about backing up your files and photos on your computer (Mac or PC) – not your iPad/iPhone. iCloud is a backup for your iPad, but it’s not really a backup system for a computer. Yes, certain files from your computer that you store in iCloud are safe, but it doesn’t backup all your files from your computer. It’s cloud storage for a computer versus cloud backup. Take photos for example. While your photos from iPad/iPhone can be backed up to iCloud (you probably pay extra for more storage), photos that you took with a camera and have only saved in your computer are not backed up to iCloud. Until recently, any document you created with Pages was only stored in your Mac, but now there is the option to store it in iCloud. PDF’s are stored on your computer. If you use Microsoft Word, those files are stored on your computer.
      Sorry for the confusion and thanks for asking!
      Lynn

      Reply

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