It only takes one time of losing everything on your computer before you realize that having a reliable backup strategy is not an option. I’ve learned that lesson the hard way, so just trust me on this one. I’ve tried a number of different strategies and want to share some of the lessons and tools I currently use.
When it comes to backing up your computer, my opinion is that you need both local and offsite backups. A local backup allows you to quickly retrieve a file from the backup. An offsite backup protects you if the location you are in becomes inaccessible. You need both.
For my local backup, I copy all of my critical files (clients, presentations, projects, etc.) to another computer here in my office every night. You can also use a USB hard drive if you want. I use a free software called SyncBackFree by 2BrightSparks which you can download from http://www.2brightsparks.com/freeware/freeware-hub.html. It allows you to select the folders & files you want to copy, where you want to copy those files, and even a schedule (which is how I have it run daily). Each time it runs, it compares the files on each drive and only copies the new or updated ones from my computer to the backup. It usually runs in five minutes or less each night on my computer.
For offsite backups I use two levels. First, I store most of my critical files on my computer in the OneDrive folder. OneDrive is Microsoft’s cloud storage solution. I set it to sync my computer folder and the cloud storage instantly as soon as a file is created or changed. At any time, from any computer, I can log on to the OneDrive website and see any of my key files. When you use Office 365, you get 1TB of space, which is a huge amount for almost anyone. OneDrive also has apps for your smartphone or tablet so you can access any file on the go.
My second level of offsite backup is to use the Backblaze cloud backup service. This service costs $50 USD per year for an unlimited amount of storage space. It runs automatically all the time backing up any new or changed files on my computer. It has all of my files, so if anything happened to our house and my computer was destroyed, I could get everything back from Backblaze. They offer the ability to access any file from a browser or smartphone/tablet app if you need to do that.
I actually go to a third level of offsite backup. I also run Backblaze on the computer I copy my files to each night. So I have every critical file in at least five places. You may think that is a little much, and it might be. But my business relies so heavily on my computer that I feel it is right for me.
At a minimum, you need both local and offsite backups. Take a moment to review your backup strategy and make sure it fits your business. If you ever have to go to a backup, you want to know that you have everything you need.