Nowadays photos, emails, music, videos, data files and applications reside on your phone, tablet and computers. It is important to find a way to synchronize and backup all your important data and easily transfer large files to other computers. Fortunately it is easy and inexpensive to do. There should be no reason in the world for you to lose important files.
Don’t Let This Happen to You!
Recently a friend of mine had his computer stolen from his workplace. He lost over 30 years of files. He never backed up his data. His computer was never found, and he was devastated.
There are several ways to protect your data from fire, water and theft. Some are more secure than others.
External Back Up Drives and Time Machine
Some people back up files onto a local or external back up drive, CDs, or flash drives. However, it may become tedious to perform backups manually onto removable discs. Alternatively, you can use an automatic backup software such as Apple’s Time Machine to back up continually onto an external hard drive. This is easy to set up and operate, and easy to recover files.
But there are disadvantages to this process: The removable discs, or external hard drives are just as susceptible to fire, flood and theft as your computer unless they are stored in another location. Most people do not remove their external Time Machine drives. What do you do if your laptop is stolen when you are away from home? Most likely you haven’t backed up your data while traveling.
That brings us to Cloud Services. This is high-speed access to a remote server for the purpose of backing up files or storing and transferring specific (usually large) files from one person or computer to another. The synchronization of files can be performed in the cloud so only the latest version of each file is accessed from any computer or mobile device (cell phone, tablet) you own.
Cloud storage and online backups are done on computer drives in a separate secured facility. There are many companies offering cloud service with a variety of levels of services and prices, with options for storing limited or unlimited amount of data. All these companies take precautions to safeguard their servers, provide high security, encryption and a controlled climate. They make it easy to download single files or your entire data.
Cloud storage services make it easy to create a “shared” folder which you can drag and drop files into, and give others access to these folders so they can drag and drop the files into their computers or mobile devices. I use DropBox for this purpose. There are a number companies providing this service.
Adobe Creative Cloud
Adobe offers a monthly membership to their “Creative Cloud” for all their customers who use their creative applications (including the Creative Suite applications such as InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop, Acrobat, Flash, Dreamweaver, etc.). For a monthly fee you have access to download and update any and all of their applications onto your computer. They also have a file sharing area called Behance where members of your team can showcase their portfolios, share and transfer files when working on a large project and they also hosting for up to 5 websites.
I use Apple’s iCloud to synchronize my emails, music, photos, calendar, videos, contacts, bookmarks on my iphone and Macbook Pro. In addition, I use the “Find my iphone” app in the iCloud, so if my iphone is stolen I can locate the specific geographic coordinates from the iCloud.
Back Blaze and Online Backups
I use BackBlaze, an online backup provider, which installs software on my computer to automatically back up all my files continuously. It is $50 per year for unlimited data. Some companies offer free accounts but come with a trade off (you must deal with advertisements or it’s free only for a limited amount of time or limited amount of data storage). You can pay by the month or get a discount when paying for one year of service.
The first time you back up all your files it may take a week or more. Obviously the more data you have, the longer it takes. Sometimes your Internet connection will slow down while it is backing up your files.
Having a complete backup of all your computer files means you have a way to restore the files to your computer if your computer is stolen, damaged or stricken by a virus. It makes sense to budget a little bit of time and money on a cloud backup service for peace of mind.