World Backup Day 2014

World Backup Day

Today, March 31st, is World Backup Day and I want to remind you to make sure you have a backup of your data. If you do already have a backup you need to make sure that backup is working and you can successfully restore data from your backup.

What should you be backing up?

Desktop and Laptop Computers
The most obvious answer of what you should be backing up is your desktop and laptop computers. You do your work on them, store your precious photos and home videos on them and they are all prone to hard drive failure or even virus threats like cyberlocker. You should have a local backup and one stored off site. There are many ways to create a local backup. Windows and Macs ship with backup software built in.

Off site backup can be easily done with cloud backup software like Backblaze, Carbonite, SpiderOak, and CrashPlan to name a few. Some software can even create and manage both your local and cloud backup at the same time. SpiderOak, CrashPlan, Zoolz and SOS Online Backup all come to mind. I can go one at length about them all, and do at Cloud Storage Buzz.

Your Smartphone and Tablet
Have you ever backed up your smartphone or tablet? For most people your smartphone has become your camera and video recorder. Backing up those photos and videos in the case you lose your device or it is destroyed is just as important as your desktop or laptop. There are many apps that will automatically copy your photos and videos from your smartphone or tablet to the cloud or your own computer. Some of my favourite apps to do this on both Android and iOS are Google+, Dropbox and Bittorrent Sync. If you already use a cloud backup service they might also offer an app that can backup your smartphone to your existing cloud backup. Carbonite and SOS Online Backup come to mind but there are others.

Your Website
Odds are if you read my blog or follow me on social media you probably have a website and obviously you need to make sure you have backup copies of your website files and databases. Many a great website has been taken offline for long periods of time because backups were not available. Depending on your website and your web host you might have several different options for backing up your website.

If your website is hosted on a web host that uses cPanel, it is pretty easy to manually login to your cPanel web hosting control panel and create a manual backup and download it. The downside of using the cPanel backup is it is a manual process that you need to remember to do. There are ways to automate your cPanel backup but that can get pretty complicated. Thankfully there are other easier options to backup your website.

One way is to sign up for Sucuri. Sucuri offers website malware monitoring and clean up. They are a a fantastic service that can help clean up your website in the event is has been compromised by malware. One of the additional services they offer is website backup. I have several clients that use Sucuri and it is an excellent service so far.

You can also take a look at They offer the ability to move files easily between cloud services. You can set it up to copy your website files and databases from your web host to your favourite cloud service. I have not done a great deal with them yet but the service does look promising.

Another way of making sure your website files and databases are protected are by signing up for a web host that does it automatically for you already. While I would recommend not relying solely on your web host backup it can be a great help if you need it. One of the web hosts I have been impressed with regarding backups is WPEngine. They make it easy to create backup points and to download them. Some hosts say they make backups but you do not have easy access to downloading them or restoring them.

If you use WordPress for your website there are also a number of plugins and other options available to regularly backup your database and files within WordPress. At the very least you can regularly export all of your content using the WordPress export tool.

Your Google Services
An area many people over look when they think about backup is backing up your Google services. I use many of Google’s services and I would be lost without having access to my GMail, Calendar and Drive files. While I do have a local copy of all my Google Drive files, I don’t use a desktop email or calendar program so my only copies of my GMail and Calendar are with Google. Thankfully you can backup your Google services with other cloud services. Two I have used are Spanning and Spinbackup. Both are good. Spanning can also backup Saleforce (if your company uses that) while Spinbackup can backup your Google+ photos.

Backing Up Is Easy!

Backing up your data has gotten much easier over the years I have been using computers. The tedious task of creating a backup to floppy disks (remember those) are long gone. There is simply no reason not to setup an automatic backup of your data any more. You will be thankful that you did when your hard drive dies and you still have access to your photos of your kids first steps, or first school play. I have seen far to many people lose all of their files, photos, and important work data, please don’t become one of them.


MozyHome Alternative

I am sure if you have stopped by here in the past and read a few posts you would know that I am a pretty hard core Mozy online backup fan. I have good reason to be, they have helped me keep my business data safe with MozyPro. I have survived a hard drive failure with no data loss and it has helped me to occasionally recover files that I deleted by accident.

I liked MozyPro so much I started to use MozyHome to backup our family data. Mostly photos and videos. There is some other files in there as well, but the large majority of the files I backup with MozyHome are photos and video. It adds up to several hundred gigabyte, not a small amount. It has been great knowing that those files are safe offsite in the event that my local backup fails or both the local backup and computer are stolen or destroyed somehow.

Recently though Mozy has announced new backup plans for MozyHome and as result my several hundred gigabyte backup will go up in price from $103.95 every two years to over $825.00 / two years and that is assuming I create no more photos and video in the next year and a half I have on my current subscription. That is a fairly large price increase. Thankfully I do not have to worry about it until my current subscription expires in about a year and a half.

I understand that Mozy has not had a price increase for MozyHome for a long time, I also understand that I am probably part of the 10% of users that backup a lot of data. I looked at what I backup to MozyHome after the price increase was announced and yes there are some files I can remove, but the majority of them are files I want to make sure are safe. Things like photos of my kids, videos of their first steps, their first school concerts, and so on. These files are precious to me and despite what someone else might say, I want them to be backed up and safe. That is why I keep local backups of them, and why I want an online backup of them as well.

I still like Mozy, and will continue to use MozyPro to keep my business files safe, but I have to admit when my MozyHome subscription is close to over I will likely be moving my family backup to another service. I do not say that lightly, but the new MozyHome plan quotas are to small and too costly to stay with them.

When it does come time to move my home backup I am leaning towards Backblaze. My wife’s laptop has Backblaze installed on it and it works well just automatically backing up everything. I like the fact that if I need to restore all of my files from them I can have a USB drive shipped to me with the files on it. You can read a Backblaze review if you want to know more about the service. Of course if you want to sign up you can go straight to the Backblaze website.

If you are like me and have a lot of personal data that you want to keep safe take a look at Backblaze. If I referred you to MozyHome for your home backup and you are not happy about your price increase take a look at Backblaze, they appear committed to staying an unlimited backup service.

Mozy Online Backup

One of the things I am paranoid about is losing my work. I have had hard drives die on me in the past and ever since I have been pretty good about backing up the data I really need and want to keep. It helps that backing up has gotten easier with large hard drives and faster DVD writers. Recently however I have been searching for an off-site backup solution for one of my local computer support clients. The plan we were going to use was to map an SSH drive in Windows and use a daily Xcopy batch file to copy all of the data to the off-site server. It works but it was not as reliable as I wanted it to be. It had a tendency to simply drop the connection before the incremental backup was completed.

The next thing I did of course was to Google “online backup” and I started to check out the various services that I found. I tried several of the programs and finally settled on Mozy online backup. While it is Windows only software, it offered three levels of service. There is a free version for up to two gigabytes for personal, non-commercial use, MozyHome which offers an unlimited backup solution for personal, non-commercial use at only $4.95/month and MozyPro for business customers starting at $3.95 each per month plus $0.50/GB per month for storage. For a business to back up 10GB is just less than $10/month.

A lot of the online backup offerings were similar, the one thing that pushed Mozy over the top was support for networked drives in MozyPro. On my own little office here I have my one remaining Windows machine that really does nothing anymore, except make backups of my files from my Linux desktop over a Samba share. Using MozyPro it also is able to backup all of those files remotely as well. Now I have a local backup of my files in case of hard drive failure on my desktop, and a remote online backup in case there is some other kind of catastrophe here at my house. The initial backup to Mozy can take a little while, but once you get the first backup done it does not take very long to do the other incremental backups.

If you are like me and run your own small business and want to have an easy off site backup solution, or you just want to backup all of your personal files and photos give Mozy a try. I have been using it just over a month and have been very happy with it. I hope I never have to use it to restore my files but it is good to know that my files are safe in case something happens.