In the digital age, there is a truism that warrants our attention; it is not if your hard drive will fail, it’s when. I have had several hard drives fail; I know that it is true. It is crazy expensive to get Drive Savers, or some other company to rescue your data. So, back-ups are important. A back-up strategy that fully protects you must have several components.
- Provide a means to continue working if your computer’s hard drive fails.
- Keep a back-up of current projects.
- Keep multiple archives of completed projects.
- Must be automatic. (so you cannot forget to do it).
- It must have an off site component (in case of fire or theft).
- There must be multiple copies.
- You’ve gotta check regularly to make sure it’s working.
The computer on my desk, backs-up to a local (firewire 800) hard drive using Time Machine and Carbon Copy Cloner. The Time Machine backup provides hourly back-ups while the Carbon Copy Cloner back-up provides a start-up disk should anything happen to the internal hard drive.
I have divided our data into two separate parts, business data – QuickBooks, estimates, word processing files and the like, and job data – project folders, images and Capture One folders. We use a server, well…, it’s a computer with a boatload of drives hanging off of it where all of this data lives. The business data is backed-up with Time Machine hourly, and with CrashPlan, a cloud back-up service. Job data gets backed-up at the end of every day with a program cleverly called Data Backup. I like Data Backup because it does versioned back-ups, and keeps versions from the last 30 days. It uses standard compression utilities to compress files, and if it is the most recent version you are looking for, you can just go get it using the finder.
When a project is completed, it is copied to an archive drive, and removed from the working drive. The archive drives are read only so nothing can be inadvertently changed or deleted.
Once a month, I bring hard disks from home and copy all of the new data to them, again with Data Backup, then take them home.
It sounds like a lot of work, but most of it happens with no supervision. It is, I believe just part of taking care of your clients and you livelihood. As always, I am interested in what you think about all of this. Please leave a comment.