The following Guest Post from Brooks Duncan contains great advice and helpful reminders to everyone about their backup plan(s):
You may have heard the old IT cliche "there are two types of hard drives: those that have failed, and those that will".
Fortunately, you, being the responsible Mac lawyer that you are, have protected yourself and are doing regular backups. At the very least you have Time Machine running and are backing things up to an external hard drive.
When’s the last time that you took a look at your backup process and made sure that it is still meeting your needs? In the Mac world we love things that "just work", but when it comes to backups, it pays to make sure things "still work".
Is It Tested?
Have you actually gone into your Time Machine backup and made sure that what you think is being backed up actually is? Take a look and see. Do a test restore of some key files to make sure that you can get what you need when you need it.
Go into the Time Machine preferences and make sure you didn’t accidentally exclude something that should be backed up.
If you’re using something else other than Time Machine, it’s the same deal. Test test test to make sure that you can restore. I like what the CEO of Carbonite, an online backup provider, has to say on the subject: "I like to say that Carbonite is not in the backup business ‚ we are in the restore business".
Is It Redundant?
The hard drive that you are copying your files to can fail just as easily as the one you are backing up. Consider having your files backed up to a storage device such as a Drobo or a Netgear ReadyNAS that contains multiple redundant hard drives. Throw in four 1 or 2 Terabyte drives, and if one of them fails, you just take it out and replace it. Your data is still safe.
Is It Offsite?
For your really important files, having them backed up in your office isn’t good enough. All the hard drive crash protection in the world won’t help you if you have a fire, flood, or theft. You need to back them up offsite.
One option is to save them to a hard drive or DVD(s) and take them to another location. This will work, but I am suspect of any backup process that involves doing something manually. It leaves too much open to human error.
A possibly better option is to use online backup. Your critical files will be backed up transparently to a secure online location and won’t take any manual intervention. There are many vendors, but Mozy and Crashplan are two to check out.
Is It The Right Online Plan?
You may already be using online backup, but make sure that your backup provider also supports backing up network storage. You want to be able to back up all your critical files, not just the ones on a local computer.
Is It Tested?
Didn’t I already cover this? Yes, yes I did. However, testing your backups needs to be a regular occurrence, not something that you do just once.
Congratulations on having a backup routine set up. You’re already ahead of 90% of computer users. If you test your backups regularly and take some time to revisit your backup strategy at least once a year, your files will be rock solid.
Source: Brooks Duncan runs DocumentSnap, a website devoted to going paperless. He helps people unclutter and de-stress by turning their piles of paper into an organized electronic system. He would be pretty happy to be able to write about Mac stuff every day.