Backblaze

Pretty much ever since I switched to Macs I have had a solid backup system. One of the advantages that the Mac has is it's comparatively easy to use built-in backup tools. Better yet Apple has hardware available that makes the whole thing that little bit more awesome, particularly with a laptop reliant on home wi-fi. Of course Windows had built in backup, but it was never very good, and the numerous third party solutions often weren't really built with home users in mind. I could have had a better back up system with my PC if I'd put in the effort; the Mac made it simple enough that I simply couldn't avoid it.

Time machine backs up both my Macs wirelessly every hour, even when they're asleep, and without any maintenance on my part. The majority of my files also exist either on Dropbox or on iCloud - where they are easily retrievable if not safe from deletion. The combination means that not only are my files easily accessible most of the time but most disasters are easily recoverable. All that has been missing is proper remote backup. The Time Capsule spends it's life in my home. If my home were to get annihilated by meteor strike, then my Mac and the backup are gone. If some nefarious individual chose to abscond with them, or deleted files locally, then I also have a potential problem.

So I'm trying out Backblaze. Backblaze sits in the background, and while it's configurable I had to do entirely zero setup to get it up and running. It uploads everything on your machine (with some intelligent exclusions) to a server on the interwebs, slowly and steadily so as not to be disruptive. It's taken a few days to get the initial backup completed. From then on it uploads changes quietly in the background constantly, or optionally on a schedule. Files are retrievable by download or you can pay to have them shipped to you on physical media.

So why continue backing up locally if the remote backup has clear advantages? Well it still has one major disadvantage: retrieving that data is inconvenient. A few hundred gigabytes is no minor download on anyone's broadband connection, and Time Machine allows for historical browsing and selective retrieval of files. Simply put, having to rely on the Backblaze backup is something I hope to never have to do. The peace of mind it affords however is priceless. No backup system is perfect, but the chances of a disastrous loss at this point are absolutely minimised. It's also true that nothing held on an internet-accessible service is completely safe, so you should ensure that your password is strong, and you can exclude any files that might be too sensitive to risk.