Backing Up Your Digital Life


You are probably like me when it comes to backing up computers and digital devices: It is SUCH a pain-in-the-butt that only the terrified-of-disaster actually take any action. Make sure you look at the Newegg deal at the bottom of this post (and no, I’m not an ‘affiliate’ and get nothing from Newegg for linking to the deal).

Fortunately I’ve never had a house fire but have experienced multiple hard drive failures over the years. Only once, 10 years ago, did I have a hard drive crash to the point where it was unrecoverable. Ever since I’ve been of the mindset that hard drive failures and disasters are not a matter of “if” but rather “when”.

During that 10 years, however, I’ve heard so many personal stories of drive failures (or stolen drives), house or business building fires, a laptop accidentally being dropped overboard while on a cruise ship (and it contained vital, one-of-a-kind business planning documents), that I get after friends, family, and colleagues to backup; backup; and backup!

mom-n-kidAfter hearing one of those stories this past April, I wrote Your Mom DEMANDS That You Backup Your Computer! to see if it would kickstart conversations. It did, but specifically the two friends I was hoping would backup their mission-critical files, tens of thousands of one-of-a-kind digital photos, and other irreplaceable digital stuff….did nothing.

What happens if you have a fire in the house? Or the fireman spray water all over your office—even though the fire hasn’t yet reached in to it—and effectively ‘drowns’ your computer and drives?

Basically you’re screwed. Unless…

crashplan-logoLook at ‘cloud backup’ solutions like the local Minnesota company Code42’s Crashplan. You may find, however, that “backup everything on my computer” online backups are too limiting. I did.

My iMac internal drive is a 1TB SSD (with 700GBs of it used) and I have an external 3TB drive with 2.3TBs used for photos, videos, and more. Backing up my stuff online—even if my internet upload speed and Crashplan’s speeds stayed constant which they wouldn’t—I’ve calculated that backing up not all, but only my crucial data, would take 37, 24 hour days!!

iosafe-solo-g3Some time ago I bought an ioSafe 3TB drive since they’re rated for 1550 degrees for 30 minutes (the average house fire burns at a temperature of about 1,100 degrees Fahrenheit) and it can be submerged underwater (up to 10ft) for 3 days (72 hours)!

So now I have two of these drives: One is the new 4TB version and it backups my iMac’s internal 1TB SSD drive as well as all the files on my ioSafe 3TB drive. All drives are encrypted with Apple’s FileVault so, even if the drives are stolen, the files are safe.

My business files and other mission-critical stuff is also backed up to my 1TB Dropbox account. All photos are backed up to my Flickr account. My iOS devices to Apple’s iCloud. So everything digital can be recovered.

Please backup. Consider an ioSafe drive if you don’t care to have your stuff in the cloud.

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  1. Tim Nelson on September 24, 2015 at 7:22 am

    a few days ago i bought that same iosafe drive from newgg. The best part is that it is quiet and I don’t even notice it running.

    I was staying with my grandparents this summer and their water heater in the basement caught some clothes on fire that were on the floor. We all got out safely and the house just had smoke damage, but I hesitated in the hallway as we ran out and turned around to go back in the guest bedroom and grabbed my macbook and external drive as i ran out the door.

    Stupid i know. But it was a wakeup call to what can happen and is why i bought that drive. I will never again go back and grab my macbook or drive since i won’t have to.

  2. Steve Borsch on September 24, 2015 at 7:25 am

    Thanks for the comment Tim.

    Glad you and your grandparents weren’t hurt and just smoke damage to the house. Fire, or smoke damage, is a pain-in-the-butt to deal with though. My Dad was an insurance adjuster all his life so I know what it takes to clean up after a fire!

    At least now you’ll have your digital stuff protected.

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About Steve Borsch

Strategist. Learner. Idea Guy. Salesman. Connector of Dots. Friend. Husband & Dad. CEO. Janitor. More here.

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Podcasting hit the mainstream in July of 2005 when Apple added podcast show support within iTunes. I'd seen this coming so started podcasting in May of 2005 and kept going until August of 2007. Unfortunately was never 'discovered' by national broadcasters, but made a delightfully large number of connections with people all over the world because of these shows. Click here to view the archive of my podcast posts.