Cloud, Workflow & Backups

My system hard disk failed today. BAD_CTX error. The 120GB Intel SSD now declares to everybody who listens that it’s 8MB now.

So my previous Mountain Lion installation has vanished into thin air. But my data is safe, of course because the drive that died did not contain this data – it was stored in a regular 5400rpm WD drive. But the reason I wasn’t overly worried about the data is that my data is backed up. Despite me being me.

We all know that we need backups. We need regular backups. And we need reliable, redundant backups.

If you’re anything like me, you keep forgetting your backup schedule, keep forgetting to connect the external hard disk to your machine at regular intervals (I once went close to 2 months without a Time Machine backup, and the current backlog is close to 4 weeks), and generally find yourself too busy for backup routines.

You can do backups with hard disks, pen drives, optical drives, FTP, and the cloud.

You can set up copy schedules, Time Machine, or set up scripts. Or simply use this technique I’ve been using for the last few months.

I maintain a Time Machine backup, which is automated, except for the fact that I need to plug in the big 2TB hard disk to the laptop and the power source. Which, as I said earlier, happens rarely. But there is a low-cost (free for most cases) method which gives me instant redundancy automatically:

  1. Sign up for a cloud storage service, like Dropbox, Copy, Ubuntu One, SkyDriveOneDrive, or Google Drive.
  2. Install the desktop client for the service, sign in, and create its base folder on your local drive.
  3. Copy or move your entire work folder to this new folder.
  4. Over the next few hours or days, depending on the size of the folder and your internet connection speed, your work will be replicated to your cloud account in the background while you deal with other more important things.

It’s a pretty simple process, but after this, whenever you update any of your files, it’s automatically updated on the cloud as well. Instant backups!

Whether you lose your computer, or your hard disk crashes, or the computer gets damaged or stops functioning, your data is safe up in the cloud. Oh, and the bonus: both Dropbox and Copy also maintain basic file versions.

And you can access it using the web interface of the respective service.

What do I recommend: you can take your pick between the more popular Dropbox and the whoa-I-started-with-15GB Copy.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s