Choosing the Right Backup Solutions for Mac

If you are not currently backing up your Mac, you should be. But what are your options? This blog post helps you understand the different backup solutions for Mac.

Eventually, most drives will fail. All physical hardware is prone to failure and data loss – even the latest solid state drives, which have no moving parts. But whether you suffer from a drive failure or you accidentally delete important files and folders, losing important data can often result in outright panic.

This is the same for businesses as it is for residential users: who’s to say that some company data is more valuable than a precious family photo album? Businesses and residential users both need frequent, reliable backup solutions to provide assurance and peace of mind. They may have different considerations and requirements, though, when it comes to their backup solutions for Mac.

Types of Backup Solutions for Mac

There are four types of backup that can be implemented to ensure a comprehensive backup policy: cloud backups, local backups, live data backups, and data archiving. By putting these four backup solutions in place, you will ensure that – should one fail – you will have redundancy and a straightforward recovery process.

Cloud Backups

Cloud backups are a popular option for businesses and residential users who want an inexpensive way to backup their data. By backing up to the cloud, you gain flexibility in where you recover to, as well as a level of redundancy that comes with not backing up to equipment that you own and run.

However, initial backups can be very slow – sometimes taking weeks to complete – and restoring data can be a very time consuming process. With the right solution in place, though, and with regular checking of logs and backup failure warnings, cloud backups can form a powerful data loss prevention tool.

At EssentiallyMac we recommend CrashPlan, who deliver easy, secure cloud backups.

Local Backups

The fastest way of getting back to work after a drive failure is through the use of a local backup. With a bootable local backup, you can simply restart your computer whilst holding down the Alt key and select a bootable local backup as your system’s start-up drive.

The process can also be used for a separate system in the event of any other form of hardware failure. This gives you almost immediate access to all of your files, emails and system settings.

There are few real drawbacks to local backups, aside from geographical proximity, physical damage, and loss or theft. These can all be mitigated, however, through the implementation of cloud, live data, and data archiving backups.

Carbon Copy Cloner from Bombich is a great tool for delivering automated local backups that run as frequently as you require.

Live Data Backups

Live data backups create a copy of a file in your backup as soon as you save it. This is a great form of backup for large amounts of specific data folders, but is not appropriate for your entire hard drive because of the way the software is built.

However, if you were to keep critical files in a specific Dropbox or Google Drive folder, you would be able to secure your most valuable files in a simple and effective manner.

Data Archiving

Data archiving offers access to documents that you may not have worked on for quite some time, be it weeks, months or in some cases years. Apple’s Time Machine which is built into all current versions of OSX, and can provide a basic form of data archiving. However, we would not recommend using this in place of a cloning application such as Carbon Copy Cloner.

You shouldn’t leave these drives plugged in for any length of time: instead, you should use them to recover old files when needed and then unplug and store them away again. Another good practice for mission critical archive data is to always have at least a second archive, duplicating the first and stored at an alternative location.

Another good tip if you are upgrading to a new Mac is to always keep your old hard drive, as it will act as a very good data archive backup should it be required.

In Summary

Businesses and residential users alike should implement robust backup policies to protect their data. Although the frequency, retention, and compliance requirements may differ, the backups should be the same: they should be reliable, secure, easy to deploy, and easy to recover from.

At EssentiallyMac we help our customers to configure backup solutions for their Apple Mac. Feel free to contact us  about how we can help deploy a comprehensive data backup strategy for your Mac devices.