Why it's still important to backup your device

Gravity Staff

May 8, 2024

Why it's still important to backup your device

Even today, it's essential to back up your device. Let's be honest; things happen. How many times have you nearly spilled coffee (or worse, wine) into your laptop? For every close call you've had, there are just as many spills, accidents, and hardware failures. This is why we still remind everyone to back up their devices.

The tried-and-true method for backup is what we call the 3-2-1 backup rule. This means you should have 3 copies of your data in 2 locations, and at least 1 copy should be in an off-site location. So, let's break this down.

The "3 copies of your data" means you have one production copy (things you are working on), and two backups.

The "2 locations" means you have one local to where you are and one stored somewhere else (another office, safety deposit box, your parent's attic)

The "1 copy offsite" refers back to the two locations.

While the US Government approves this method (see US-CERT paper), it is a little antiquated with more modern technology. The major issue here is that the two-locations system was built on the idea that backups were on tape, and you would essentially take the tapes with you to another location. The other caveat with this is that cloud backup wasn't as popular when the original document was created.

So, let's discuss a new way to ensure your data is safe.

For your iPhone and iPad, there are two ways to back up your data.

- Locally to your computer

- Straight to the cloud via iCloud

Honestly speaking, the latter is the better option in our opinion. It's a set-it-and-forget-it option, and it just works. What's great about using iCloud is if/when you get a new phone, you can restore from iCloud to get your phone back to about 95% of the way it was (for security purposes, you will have to enter passwords back in and things such as that).

If you don't have an iCloud account, you can still back up your phone to your computer. Plug your phone into your computer, open a new Finder window, and click Back Up Now.

Now let's tackle your Mac. Whether it's a desktop or laptop, the rules apply. We suggest you have at least one local backup (Time Machine or a clone) and a cloud backup. Let's dive in.

For local backup, Apple has made it very easy to make backups. It's a piece of software that comes with your computer called Time Machine. Plug in a hard drive, format it correctly, set it as the Time Machine location, and let it rip. Most times, when you plug a new hard drive into your computer, you are asked if you want to use it for Time Machine. Most hard drives come formatted for Windows, so take the time to format your drive correctly.

Time Machine is probably the easiest way to get a backup on your computer. Time Machine does what we call "Delta backups." This means it will do a full backup and only backup files that have changed since the last backup. This is a great way to keep versions of files as well.

For a clone, it's almost as easy, but it requires you to purchase a piece of software, such as Carbon Copy Cloner. As the name suggests, it does a clone of your drive. However, as far back as macOS Catalina (10.15), the Macintosh HD isn't one big drive to clone. The drive is split into an OS drive and a Data drive. Carbon Copy Cloner, and the brilliant people at Bombich, understand this and know how to deal with it. So when setting up a clone drive with their software, follow the onscreen prompts to ensure you create a bootable clone drive.

What about a cloud backup? For both desktops and laptops, we suggest Backblaze (please note that link is an affiliate link). Backblaze is the easiest to set up, and at a whopping $7/month, it just makes sense. Using Backblaze does put you at ease that if something were to happen to your computer, you can recover your data, but do realize that if you need to make an entire hard drive recovery, you will have to pay a few bucks to get a drive sent to you, as you don't want to attempt a full recovery over the internet. But if you lose a file or two, Backblaze is a great way to recover those files. With automated backups and unlimited storage, using Backblaze on your Mac computer makes sense.

We install Backblaze on our own computers as well.

What if something happens and I don't have a good backup to restore?

While this shouldn't be the case, data recovery is always an option if you don't follow our directions. We are partnered with Drive Savers (another affiliate link). Drive Savers is the best when it comes to data recovery. We can assist you in getting a quote from Drive Savers to get your data back. Please note that Drive Savers will do a quote on the phone, but until they have your device, they can not guarantee that price. Once they have your device, they will requote if necessary, and no payment is due unless you've asked them to do the work.

Wrap up

Even in today's age, we need to back up our devices. They are not infallible. Things happen. Sh*t happens. Don't let it get to you. If you are stuck, need help, or something breaks, schedule a time with us. With Gravity, you are in good hands, and our number one goal is to reunite you with your technology as fast as possible.

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