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Check and then recheck your backups folks!

Posted: Sat Mar 09, 2019 4:22 pm
by infinitelurker
Just a friendly reminder to everybody to back up your files. Ensure that the files that you care about the most on your computers are backed up. Ideally backed up locally, as well as off-site, be it in the cloud or whatever works well for you.

I've been putting off gathering my business tax information for my accountant. Last week I decided it was finally time. I turned on my computer, and I heard what sounded like the infamous click-of-death from my large spinning rust data drive. Crap I thought, but no worries, it's all backed up in the cloud. Well, apparently the virtual machine hard drive I used for my accounting software that was on that drive wasn't part of the backup. Fun!

I didn't lose the 15 years of family photos, which is what I care the most about.

I'm a professional software developer and am the strongest proponent to friends to make sure your shit is backed up (probably because I'm usually the tech support for most of them). Which is why I'm sitting here both laughing at and cursing myself that I didn't back up that VM.

Backup, backup, backup folks!

Re: Check and then recheck your backups folks!

Posted: Sat Mar 09, 2019 5:09 pm
by Kraken
I should probably bite the bullet and pay for a slick backup service. I use Jungle Disk to back up two computers to Amazon Web Services. It has the advantage of costing just $2 per month, and the disadvantage of a terrible interface and difficult login. It did save my bacon once, but it wasn't easy.

I'm also using Windows OneDrive for my most critical business stuff, but it's not big enough for all of my graphics and music and whatnot.

Re: Check and then recheck your backups folks!

Posted: Sat Mar 09, 2019 8:53 pm
by infinitelurker
I've been using Crashplan for years - but I'll have to re-evaluate in a few months. Due to their pivot away from consumer level products towards business focused products (and higher prices) back in 2017, I was grandfathered in at $2.50/month, but it's going up to $10/month later this year. I've been happy with them and therefore know nothing of the backup option landscape right now. So, I'd love to hear if anybody has recommendations for what product to use for 1 to 2 TB of cloud backup.

Re: Check and then recheck your backups folks!

Posted: Sat Mar 09, 2019 9:21 pm
by killbot737
Stop jinxing everyone.

Re: Check and then recheck your backups folks!

Posted: Sat Mar 09, 2019 9:59 pm
by Exodor
infinitelurker wrote:
Sat Mar 09, 2019 8:53 pm
I've been using Crashplan for years - but I'll have to re-evaluate in a few months. Due to their pivot away from consumer level products towards business focused products (and higher prices) back in 2017, I was grandfathered in at $2.50/month, but it's going up to $10/month later this year. I've been happy with them and therefore no nothing of the backup option landscape right now. So, I'd love to hear if anybody has recommendations for what product to use for 1 to 2 TB of cloud backup.
Same boat - used Crashplan and now grandfathered into Crashplan Pro. It like the ease of use but I'd happily switch to a cheaper service if it can offer a comparable experience.

Re: Check and then recheck your backups folks!

Posted: Sun Mar 10, 2019 12:36 am
by jztemple2
I'm very old school on computers so I have two separate hard drives on my desk which I back up to (one plugged in, one air-gapped), plus another one I keep hidden on a high shelf. I do weekly backups. And I keep my stuff on the cloud pretty much anyway as well. Did I say "old school"? I probably meant "obsessive" :D, but I did start my computing back when if a hard drive lasted a year it was pretty unusual.

My wife is pretty optimistic on the durability of her computer storage, which is why I added a separate external drive to her rig plus software that constantly backs up her C: drive. Plus once a week I back up her C: drive manually to a separate drive.

Re: Check and then recheck your backups folks!

Posted: Sun Mar 10, 2019 7:14 pm
by Anonymous Bosch
infinitelurker wrote:
Sat Mar 09, 2019 8:53 pm
I've been using Crashplan for years - but I'll have to re-evaluate in a few months. Due to their pivot away from consumer level products towards business focused products (and higher prices) back in 2017, I was grandfathered in at $2.50/month, but it's going up to $10/month later this year. I've been happy with them and therefore know nothing of the backup option landscape right now. So, I'd love to hear if anybody has recommendations for what product to use for 1 to 2 TB of cloud backup.
I suggest rolling your own by going with Lifehacker's recommended alternative to Crashplan:
Lifehacker.com wrote:Choose Your Own Backup Service

Users who want to exercise a bit more control over their backup service can build their own with a combination of the right cloud backup software and cloud storage service. Cloud backup software like Arq Backup operates in the same manner as CrashPlan and Backblaze, storing your files securely in an offsite location.

Arq can backup your entire computer or just select folders. It backs up network drives, external drives, files of any size, and stores your data in whichever cloud storage service you choose, whether it be from Google, Amazon, Microsoft, or whomever. You can even store the data on your own server or NAS, though keeping a backup of your data in another location (like an offsite server) is recommended. You’ll have to pay for the cloud storage on whichever platform you choose, but Arq’s $50 one-time purchase price and the ability to only pay for as much data you need could save you money in the long-term.
You can get a basic idea of pricing with various cloud storage services on the features page for Arq Backup.

Re: Check and then recheck your backups folks!

Posted: Sun Mar 10, 2019 9:10 pm
by infinitelurker
Thanks for that info and the links. I'll do a bit more investigation, but I'll likely just bump up to the 10/month Crashplan and (after re-verifying that I'm really backing up everything I care about) be done with it. It's treated me well over the years and it would save me the pain up re-uploading everything. Also, after a quick look, it appears it would be cheaper than Arc coupled with a cloud provider.

Re: Check and then recheck your backups folks!

Posted: Sat Mar 23, 2019 10:24 am
by FishPants
I got burned by a cloud backup (Picturelife) and eventually got some of the files back, but I now do multiple backups:

1. My family icloud plan is 1TB, I think it's $10 a month but it's necessary to get everyone's apple stuff backed up. My mac as well. Worth every cent.

2. Amazon prime includes a free amazon photo account, although they did reduce the allowable video storage to almost zilch. It's a secondary layer though and I use it.

3. I have a free box.com, dropbox.com, google drive account that I copy my documents to occasionally -- but really it's the last "tier" in my backup strategy. If I'm dipping into here, I'm probably already fucked.

(OO has local backup, FTP backup with the server provider, and AWS S3 bucket backup in a glacier tier for like $2 a month). Multiple methods of media, and at least one offsite copy (one in your home is good for speed to recovery if you need to quickly restore). None of my backups are "bare metal" restore type backups, just critical documents. In a disaster I would be reinstalling windows and applications, then moving pictures/files back down.

Re: Check and then recheck your backups folks!

Posted: Sat Mar 23, 2019 12:01 pm
by Anonymous Bosch
The 3-2-1 backup rule has always proven rock solid in my experience. Namely:

3 - Always keep at least three copies of crucial data
Meaning the original, and at least two backups; data does not truly exist until you have at least three separate and reliable copies of it.

2 - Always keep the backed-up data on two different storage types
The chances of having two failures of the same storage type are much better than for two completely different types of storage. So, if your data is stored on an internal drive, be sure to use a different type of secondary storage (e.g. external/removable storage and the cloud).

1 - Always keep at least one copy of the data off-site
If you have two copies on two separate storage types but both are stored on-site, obviously a local disaster could wipe them both out. So keeping copies stored off-site, such as the cloud and a safe deposit box at a local bank (for convenience), is essential.

Re: Check and then recheck your backups folks!

Posted: Sat Mar 23, 2019 3:22 pm
by jztemple2
As I mentioned above, I rely on external drives for back-up mainly, although I also use cloud resources, mainly Google Drive. I forgot to mention that weekly I download the content of my Google Drive and that goes to a folder that is then backed up on the external drives. Probably overkill, but I always assume that anything in the cloud could go away at any time.

I know I could use the Google Drive backup right on my PC, but I use Drive through several devices and it would be a pain keeping everything synchronized. Plus I have a security concern over keeping copies of everything at several locations.

Re: Check and then recheck your backups folks!

Posted: Tue Mar 26, 2019 1:41 pm
by Jag
I have a physical external HD attached to my PC with an autobackup app running.

I also use a cloud based backup service called Backblaze. Seems to work ok. I switched after Crashplan changed their structure.

Re: Check and then recheck your backups folks!

Posted: Tue Mar 26, 2019 5:40 pm
by jztemple2
Jag wrote:
Tue Mar 26, 2019 1:41 pm
I have a physical external HD attached to my PC with an autobackup app running.
It would seem to me that if you pick up a virus it could infect your autobackup as well. What are folks opinions on this?

Re: Check and then recheck your backups folks!

Posted: Tue Mar 26, 2019 7:46 pm
by FishPants
jztemple2 wrote:
Tue Mar 26, 2019 5:40 pm
Jag wrote:
Tue Mar 26, 2019 1:41 pm
I have a physical external HD attached to my PC with an autobackup app running.
It would seem to me that if you pick up a virus it could infect your autobackup as well. What are folks opinions on this?
Yep ransomware could hose that; well anything attached as a drive letter anyways. Better off to back it up local, then FTP it to another PC with the hard drive (the backup that is). At least a bit of a barrier to ransomware.

Re: Check and then recheck your backups folks!

Posted: Tue Mar 26, 2019 10:27 pm
by Jag
jztemple2 wrote:
Tue Mar 26, 2019 5:40 pm
Jag wrote:
Tue Mar 26, 2019 1:41 pm
I have a physical external HD attached to my PC with an autobackup app running.
It would seem to me that if you pick up a virus it could infect your autobackup as well. What are folks opinions on this?
I'm probably screwed then. Was really using it to protect against physical loss. Fire, theft, hurricanes, banditos, etc.

Re: Check and then recheck your backups folks!

Posted: Sat Mar 30, 2019 4:54 pm
by gameoverman
I try to 'restore' from my backups two or three times a year. Having backups, even multiple backups in various forms and locations, is great. But just having them doesn't mean you can restore the data. That has to be tested, preferably before you really need the backup.

Re: Check and then recheck your backups folks!

Posted: Sat Mar 30, 2019 6:53 pm
by infinitelurker
gameoverman wrote:
Sat Mar 30, 2019 4:54 pm
I try to 'restore' from my backups two or three times a year. Having backups, even multiple backups in various forms and locations, is great. But just having them doesn't mean you can restore the data. That has to be tested, preferably before you really need the backup.
This is so true. I was doing software development contract work for a company once when they encountered a system failure. The IT team sprung into action, and was calm as they told management they had a very well structured backup plan that has been in place for years. Well, while they did have nightly full backups of this particular system going back years, what they didn't know was that over 16 months earlier, the nightly backup had been erroring out less than 5% into the backup, and the notification system wasn't set up properly to notify anybody. :shock: The backups were never tested to be valid after they were initially set up, and well over a year of production work was mostly lost. A lot of hours of manual work was needed to try to pull various files from individual desktops/emails/network shares, without really being able to know for sure that those files were the correct versions of the ones lost.

Re: Check and then recheck your backups folks!

Posted: Sat Mar 30, 2019 7:30 pm
by Blackhawk
I would like to get my hands on a large external drive - maybe a couple of TB. Something I can back up all of the family photos, personal documents, etc on and store at my ex-mother-in-law's house. Update it two or three times a year, and at least I'd be safe in case of a fire.

Re: Check and then recheck your backups folks!

Posted: Sun Mar 31, 2019 10:59 pm
by Kasey Chang
FWIW, Amazon has a 6TB WD Elements external USB3 today for $100. And the deal expires in 3 hours as of 8PM PDT

Re: Check and then recheck your backups folks!

Posted: Sun Apr 14, 2019 9:11 pm
by hitbyambulance
Kasey Chang wrote:
Sun Mar 31, 2019 10:59 pm
FWIW, Amazon has a 6TB WD Elements external USB3 today for $100. And the deal expires in 3 hours as of 8PM PDT
it shows as $115 for me - and it's not 8pm yet

Re: Check and then recheck your backups folks!

Posted: Mon Apr 15, 2019 1:53 am
by Kasey Chang
On March 31st. :)

FWIW, i can buy a bare SATA 4TB drive for like $70. I have the dock for it.

Re: Check and then recheck your backups folks!

Posted: Mon Apr 15, 2019 3:44 pm
by hitbyambulance
Kasey Chang wrote:
Mon Apr 15, 2019 1:53 am
On March 31st. :)
o snap. that'll teach me to keep up with threads.

Re: Check and then recheck your backups folks!

Posted: Thu Apr 25, 2019 7:51 pm
by gameoverman
Back in the days of cd burners I used to create cd backups. One day I picked one up and decided to take a look at what I had on it, to see if it was my current backup or an old one. I popped it in the drive and it would just spin, I couldn't see the contents in file explorer. Maybe it was that I used a cheap blank cd, or my burner software screwed up, but that's when I learned that it's a good idea to make sure you can access your backed up files.

Re: Check and then recheck your backups folks!

Posted: Thu Apr 25, 2019 8:45 pm
by Anonymous Bosch
gameoverman wrote:
Thu Apr 25, 2019 7:51 pm
Back in the days of cd burners I used to create cd backups. One day I picked one up and decided to take a look at what I had on it, to see if it was my current backup or an old one. I popped it in the drive and it would just spin, I couldn't see the contents in file explorer. Maybe it was that I used a cheap blank cd, or my burner software screwed up, but that's when I learned that it's a good idea to make sure you can access your backed up files.
Hence the importance of rule no. 2.