Jun 1, 2014

Keeping data safe - part four

As I said, the final part of this series would be about using services that let you forget about backup. That is, unless you are really devoted to avoid data loss. And we are, aren't we?

The cloud and it's services has made this much more available only over the last year or so. There's a host of online services:

  • file storage (dropbox, Microsoft's onedrive (previously known as skydrive), google drive, jotta cloud, amazon, just from the top of my head)
  • online office apps
  • music and video streaming (spotify, wimp, youtube, hbo, netflix)
  • todo-lists like Wunderlist
  • online notebooks such as Evernote
  • specialized storages like flickr let you store and share your images
  • source code repositories
  • e-mail - back in the day, it was downloaded to a file on your computer. today, it's a given that it's available online.
  • and more
And with all of these services, backup is taken care of for you. In some cases, like a music streaming service, you don't have your music files backed up, but you have access to a whole library of music, that I pretty much can guarantee has a good backup strategy.

They also have apps for different systems, so you can get a hold of your stuff from work, from your cell phone, or from your linux laptop.

This means that you don't have to back up every single file on your existing drive. Instead, you can concentrate on the bits that aren't taken care of in the online services.

Imagine you're only using online services. Hard drive crashed? No problem. Just reinstall the operating system, and you're good to go. Seems too good to be true? Chrome OS already does this.

So what I'm suggesting is partly utilizing these services that already take care of the important part for you, so you can concentrate on actually generating more important personal memories (data). The different services offer different pricing models and features, so you need to consider them and make an educated choice for yourself.

Then know what's not included in the online storage, and assure that that part of your data is safely backed up as well.

Finally, I'd like to recommend taking a minute to value the different data. I mean, not every single file, but in groups: Family photos? Probably the one thing, next to work, that I'd really hate losing forever. Forever like in a house fire.

If an online service is terminated, there's a good chance your data won't be accessible. Likewise if your user is deleted for some reason, the terms of the service may state that they are required to keep your data only for a few hours...

Now the probability that your hard drive crashes simultanously to some critical error with your storage service, or very close to that, is of course very small. But it does exist. So if you really need to be sure, you should consider adding another backup to your system.

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