Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Love The Cloud With No Limits, But Know Your Limits!

I just read an article on Forbes' site where the writer correctly argued that despite the cost of cloud storage being nearly zero (who can compete with "Free!" ?) he likes to use personal networked storage at home for his data.

I agree with the points he makes about why using personal storage is still the better option versus cloud storage. But I disagree on the use of Network Attached Storage at home. No matter what device I have tried, no NAS at home comes close to the speed of a Thunderbolt, Firewire or USB3 external hard drive when doing regular and incremental backups of my Macs and MacBook Pros, as I do.

Coincidentally, one of the biggest problems I have with cloud storage is that despite buying cool utilities like ExpanDrive. which mount my Google, Box, DropBox OneDrive, FTP and other cloud storage on my Macs's desktops as local drives, none of them is writable from backup apps like Carbon Copy Cloner or Time Machine.

Additionally, the time it would take for my backups to complete even over my 75/75Mbps connections is another huge deterrent.

I personally carry 2 portable drives (one ThunderBolt and one USB3) with my laptops when I travel, while having multiple clones and Time Machine backups at both homes in NY and FL. Each is obviously encrypted with the highest level security, or I would be trading reliable backup with high risk of theft.

No matter what you do and what type of data you have, whether on a phone or a computer, you MUST backup your data, if you value your time, and your data. As Clint Eastwood would say, A man's gotta know his limits. So does a woman.

Can you afford to lose all the data on your device? Pictures? Messages? Emails? Contacts? How much spare time did God give you that you'd want to take on the burden of re-gathering all the contacts you have? And what about the photos? You do have them backed up somewhere, right?

Don't tell me you are relying on FaceBook as your personal album storage? What if someone hacks your account and deletes all your albums? Even worse, what if the FB policy Nazis don't like something you post and delete your account?

By the way, did you know that FaceBook turns your gorgeous 1-15MB photos taken with anything from a cell phone to a fancy camera into pure-crap-minimum-tolerable-quality 72 dpi files of merely 100-200KB? Good luck printing those if you ever want to in the future. Even a USB stick or two are so cheap these days. Not using at least a Thumb Drive is Dumb!

At the very least use something like Flickr, that stores the images at full size and gives you 1TB free. But check your security settings so none of your private photos become public. (Well, it is OK to give me access to see them. Purely for my giving you security advice of course. LOL).

Finally, remember, One is never enough, and as I also always say, Once Every Night isn't enough either. :-) I learned a long time ago that when a laptop drive dies, it will happen on the same day an external backup drive will also die ...and the backup of the backup will be unmountable on that same day. ;-)

So, backup on more than one system (external drive, thumb drive, CD/DVD/Blu Ray, cloud), with more than one method (data only, full clone, incremental timestamped backups), in more than one place (your home, your parents' home, across the country).

One day (or night) you will thank me for it!

Imran Anwar
Love The Unlimited Cloud, But Within Limits!™
Cloud 9 Global Inc.

1 comment:

Imran Anwar said...

Someone posted about using a single very large sized disk and putting all backups on that. Here was my response: In this day age, with large capacity hard disks less and less expensive, and the failure rates of even previously incredibly reliable brands going higher and higher, multiple-redundancy is the only way to even begin to feel safe. Even if someone had a 100TB hard drive for $500 I would not put everything on that one drive regardless of number of permissions, or would have more than one of those drives. Here is an EXAMPLE of how I have my ONE primary MacBook Pro based digital life protected. MacBook Pro 1TB SSD backs up to 2 separate 5TB external drives in New York. And in Florida. More on that later. In addition I use Carbon Copy Cloner to back up the MacBook Pro to two external drives, one Thunderbolt and one USB. Each of the backups is encrypted in case one or more drives are stolen or lost. PLUS, my encrypted docs, music, photos, etc. are also backed up to cloud storage (but I still do not put anything super sensitive in the cloud despite being a professional in that industry).
As I mentioned earlier, I also duplicate the whole drives set up in New York and Florida. Why? Even if you do not have two homes, or a home and office, you surely have a home and a family member's home to use. What good are six hard drives in one home if flooding, or ceiling water leak, or fire, or a hurricane destroy the home?
For my desktop 9 years old iMac running as a server, it has an external USB drive next to it, backups wirelessly to a NAS upstairs (in case fire or water damage only happened on that desk), and on a network shared 4TB hard drive, which is a holdall of all the Macs I use and which I carry with me during my travels. So, even if I am in Pakistan or Paris, I have the ability to restore my MacBook Pro right there if it has a hard drive crash, plus ability to restore any of my Macs should something happen to a home while I am not there. In my personal life I am a bit of an adventurer, loving racing cars, motorcycles, yachting, sailing, jet ski, skydiving, and more. But in the area of data backups, I feel I am not paranoid enough! :-)