The other day I was talking to a young man who is graduating with a bachelor’s in communication. The passenger side window of his car was taped up with plastic and I asked him what happened. He told me that his car had been broken into while he was parked on campus. His book bag had been stolen and in it was the hard drive he used for his computer’s backup.
I was surprised and asked him why he wasn’t using backup in the cloud. It was a case of the old lady knowing more tech than the young man because I knew more about it than he did — he admitted to not knowing or understanding the cloud.
You know what? Neither did I for quite a while. Like many I had some amorphous vision of computers in the sky that I knew wasn’t quite right. Eventually I looked up the cloud, on Google of course. There I found this quote from Gizmodo:
“Cloud” is a buzzword that vaguely suggests the promise and convenience of being able to access files from anywhere. But the reality is that the cloud is hardly floating like mist above our heads — it’s a physical infrastructure, its many computers housed in massive warehouses all over the world. Jan 29, 2015
In other words, the cloud is just as earth bound as we are with many computers all operating in one place. Those server farms are set up all over the planet. Almost as an aside, these server farms generate a ton of heat and people are experimenting with how to use it, as in Dutch firm heats homes for free using cloud server power.
Cloud backup for writers
Like almost everything to do with computing the more there is of it cheaper it gets. This includes storage space – like storage space in the cloud. It’s relatively recently that these huge server farms have become ubiquitous enough so innovative companies can offer cloud backup for writers that’s inexpensive and easy to use.
But the biggest innovation is that along with that inexpensive storage has come the ability for any computer that is hooked up to the Internet to have its data backed up automatically!
No longer do we have to concern ourselves with complicated tape backup systems (I’m dating myself now), hard drives or USB backup drives that fit on a key chain to handle our backup. Nor do we have to remember to do it.
I use Carbonite. You’ll find my review here – which needs to be updated. It now costs about $60 a year and I’ve actually used the program to transfer files from an old hard drive to a new one. It’s nice to know it really works. The transfer was easy. (Yes, those are affiliate links which means I will make a bit of money if you buy through those links.)
The thing I like best about Carbonite, however, is that once I installed it and told her that I wanted to back up my data files I can ignore it until I need it or until it’s time to renew my annual subscription. Once in a while I’ll catch a message saying it’s backing up but usually it does it when I’m not using the computer and the computer is on. It’s totally idiot proof or as close to it as I think you can get.
By the way, you want to backup your data files which are as everything other than your programs. In most cases you can’t restore programs from any backup system. You can often restore them from the software’s site itself or from the discs you got if you did get them, but trying to restore a program rarely works from backup.
PC Magazine has an almost readable chart created in 2015 that describes the price and and options of a bunch of similar services.
In my opinion the features you want are:
- continuous backup
- full disk backup
- search backup – for those times a file can get corrupted
- backup to your mobile devices
Vision saving is nice although I rarely need it, I’m not sure what folder syncing is. I hadn’t realized I could do file sharing this way and since I now know it’s I may be able to skip Dropbox.
You really have no excuse for not being backed up – oh, I said ‘almost bullet proof.’ It’s possible those servers will go down. Their owners are well aware of the potential problem and have tons of redundancy so I don’t worry. If something does happen I suspect we’ll have way more problems than to worry bout than our backups.
Are you interested in learning more about using technology well as a freelance writer? I’m starting a mailing list for writers interested in technology – you can join here.
Write well and often,