Protecting Data from the End of the World

To protect against losing data, Joseph Rooks uses CrashPlan. Anti-virus software protects my files from being attacked in the digital realm, but to have a truly reliable backup, I need to protect them from destruction by forces in the physical world, too – big, scary forces like fires, floods, and the events of the movie "2012."

An off-site backup is exactly what it sounds like: a copy of the important information on my computer that I keep somewhere else in case disaster strikes. It's time consuming to manually copy files to a USB hard drive, and every time I do that I have to think about which files need to be backed up. I'd rather set it and forget it, so I turned to an automatic solution called CrashPlan, which is available for Windows and Mac OS.

There are many comparable services, but CrashPlan's software is functional and useful with or without its paid service, and it has excellent reviews on every software site I checked. I looked for negative feedback on many well-known review sites, and I couldn't find but one dissatisfied customer all the way back to 2007.

However, I did find a lot of praise for its ease of use and the awesome communication the support team provided.

CrashPlan gives me many options for backing up files, but I'm going to focus on two in particular: Folder backup, and CrashPlan Central. Folder backup lets me send all of my files to a folder on a connected USB hard drive. I work at home, so a friend's house or a safety deposit box at the bank would both be good locations to store my backups.

I can also use an inexpensive paid CrashPlan Central account to back up my entire hard drive over the Internet to their servers in Minnesota. The program quickly walked me through setting it up and then my files were on their way. I'm using the 30-day trial right now, and although it's taking a while to upload all of this data, once that's done it will be easy for the system to automatically update any time I change something.

If you're concerned about protecting your data from the end of the world as seen in "2012," I recommend storing your backup on John Cusack at all times.


Photo credit: mrbill / CC BY 2.0

Joseph Rooks is a freelance writer and designer.  He blogs at Keeping Tech Simple, his photos are on flickr, and he's on Twitter @josephrooks.

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  1. Alex Edelman says:

    I think Apple has done a particularly good job with the Time Machine software it includes with Mac OS. It backs up automatically and seamlessly, and most impressively, keeps multiple versions, which means I can retrieve a file that I accidentally deleted three years ago.

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