Back up your Mac

Post 75 of 78

It’s easy, inexpensive, and totally worth it.

Posted by Paul Stokes

Time Machine
Every Mac comes with a fantastic program called Time Machine.  Never worry about losing your important data again.  Time Machine will automatically back up everything on your computer including photos, music, videos, documents, applications, settings, and more.  If your computers hard drive ever crashes, you can simply go back in time and recover from the day and time you choose from your Time Machine.  All Time Machine needs to back up your data is an external hard drive.

Time Machine makes an initial backup on the external hard drive and then saves every change, every hour, every day.  Set your external hard drive up and let it do all the work.  Even if your system doesn’t crash and you simply need to retrieve a file that you accidentally deleted.  You can go back and see how your computer looked on the date that you know you had the file and search to find the file across all of your backups.

External Hard Drive
An external hard drive is used to store the data of your choosing.  You can store a copy of your entire computer (Time Machine) or you can choose to copy only specific files that are important to you.  External hard drives connect to the computer by a USB cable, a Firewire cable, or some other means.  The hard drive itself is stored in a portable disk enclosure to protect it.  The enclosure will have plugs available to connect the drive to your computer.  Using an external drive can come in handy if you need to transport files to another location or if you want to take the drive with you to protect against potential fire and theft losses.

Optical Drives
Optical disk drives use laser light or electromagnetic waves to read or write data from optical discs.  The most common optical discs are CDs, DVDs, and Blue Ray Discs.  Recording to discs is typically kept to small-scale backup and distributing files.  Although the backup is solid and dependable, the process is slower and more expensive than other types of backup.

Tape Drives
Tape drives are data storage devices that reads and writes on a magnetic tape.  Unlike random access storage on a disk drive, tape drives provide sequential access storage.  This means that tape drives are slower and can spend a considerable amount of time finding any specific file or data.  They can however stream data very quickly.  So recovering lost data can be quite efficient once the desired data is found.

Remote Backup Service
Remote backup services are provided by several online companies.  These companies provide a program that collects, compresses, encrypts, and transfers the data that you would like backed up to a remote server.  Features and cost vary with these types of service depending on the amount of storage you need and features you want.

There are several advantages to remote backup.  One is having a backup offsite away from your original data helping prevent loss from theft, fire, or other disaster.  Some services offer the ability to back up files continuously as they are changed.  Another nice advantage is the user does not have to change tapes, label CD’s or perform any other hands on steps.

There are a few disadvantages you should be aware of.  Restoration can be slow depending on the available bandwidth.  Recovery must be done over the internet or from a shipped tape or disk from the location that the offsite data is stored.  The data may be unsecured or the provider could go out of business.  Broadband services may have limits on the amount of bandwidth available for large backups.

In general, remote backup services are a great option.  Look for a service that offers assistance configuring the initial backup, has continuous monitoring, sends proactive failure alerts, and offers assistance in restoring or recovering data.

In the end you need to educate yourself and make sure that anything digital that is important to you or your business is properly back up.  For individuals the Time Machine back up is sufficient in most cases.  We recommend any size business consult with professionals on what their best and safest solutions are.

For more information on back up strategies, contact Graphite today!