How not to cry when data is lost a.k.a How to Backup properly

backup your computer

The first question we ask is

“Do you have a backup”?

In over eight years of Virtua Computers running, I can’t begin to tell you how many clients have come to us because they have lost data. These customers are calling us for the first time crying or angry wondering what they can do. Honestly, my heart breaks for them. So how do we avoid this moving forward?

At Virtua Computers, we have a set rule for all clients servers and home users computers – they need to be Virtua Compliant. This means we need to have at a minimum two of three backup types: Time Machine, Clone, and Offsite. Let’s break these down:

• Time Machine – Time Machine You’ve all seen this icon. Time Machine comes free with your Mac and when set up, will run every hour and backup files that have changed. What’s awesome about this is that the backup while only backing up a few files that changed, the system shows it as it’s backed up everything. When you look at your Time Machine, all the files are there – even though it may have only backed up one small Microsoft file. We like to tell people to get a drive that’s 2X the size you of the drive you are backing up. So if you have a 1TB internal hard drive, we would suggest a 2TB external drive. If you have a 2TB drive, we would recommend a 4TB drive, and so on. This will ensure you have more than enough space to backup for months of data. Time machine also has its set of rules for backing up:
time machine backup

Using this model you can have a lot of backups.

Just to give you more realistic numbers. My personal internal HD is a 500GB solid state drive. I’m currently using 415GB of that 500GB. My Time Machine drive is 2TB (I had an extra lying around). That drive has used 1.12TB of data, but I have backups as far back as January 22nd, 2015! I have over a year of backup data.

• Clone – This is the one item we are lenient on when it comes to home users, but never for servers. A regularly scheduled clone is an excellent way to have back up of data. Having a cloned copy of your data is also helpful when your primary file share device (such as the RAID everyone is connected to) has an issue. You can quickly point everyone to that cloned drive. Using a very simple piece of software called Carbon Copy Cloner, you can setup a schedule clone. At most clients we schedule a clone to run every 3 to 4 hours. If for some reason we need to bump everyone to the clone, we can fill in those missing hours from our Time Machine backup that we already discussed.

• Offsite backup – If there was a fire in your office and all your computers and servers were destroyed how quickly could you rebuild your business? The amount of time and money to rebuild your business could have been saved by having an offsite backup. For our clients we offer two offsite backup solutions:

  1. Virtua Computers Offsite Backup – a white glove service that will backup your data to our servers in NJ, Virgina, and San Francisco. We have full control of the servers, the data flow, and the accounts. This way if you ever need your data, we can get it to you within 24 hours (sometimes sooner). We certainly aren’t the cheapest backup solution; I’ll admit that, but we are the most hands on.
  2. BackBlaze – BackBlaze is $5/month to back up your entire computer, and cheaper if you buy a year in advance. Now you have NO excuse for an offsite backup solution.Using these three methods for backup will almost 100% ensure you never call us crying wondering where the pictures of your kids went when your machine was dropped, stolen, lit on fire, randomly deleted, coffee spilled on it, the kid got glue in it, the screen “just cracked”, lost with your luggage, the cat walked on it, the dog pooped on it, or whatever other horrible thing can happen to your computer.That said, if you DO need data recovery, or help setting up a Virtua Compliant backup solution, please do contact us:

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