I’ve known that I need to keep my computers backed up for a long time. Being a bit of a computer geek myself, it’s something I’ve often recommended to others. It’s a basic requirement for the responsible computer user, and it always has been.
Despite that, I haven’t had a full backup of a computer since 1996. It was either too costly (external hard drive) or too time consuming (burning CDs/DVDs). Then this winter, the sump pump in my basement failed. I awoke one morning in February to find two inches of standing water in the basement – the very same basement where my desktop computer was sitting on the floor. The very same desktop computer with five years of digital photography on the hard drive. The very same photography that I had never printed – or backed up. To make matters worse, I knew that the hard drive in this particular computer case sat at the very bottom of the case and was, no doubt, at least partially submerged.
Once the water was drained from the basement and the computer had had plenty of time to dry out, I popped open the case. Everything looked ok, but there were signs that water had been present. I hoped for the best and pressed the power button. The machine turned on, the monitor flickered… and the hard drive didn’t respond. I pulled it out, looked it over, put it back, made sure the connections were tight, and tried again. This time: success. It worked, and the data was intact, including the five years of family photos.
I didn’t waste any time in developing a backup strategy. After all, I had already played over and over in my mind what would happen when I broke the news to my wife that I’d lost five years of family memories, and it wasn’t pretty. I considered a RAID array, an external drive, burning CDs, etc. Some of those methods could be automatic, which was one requirement I had. But they all stayed on-site. What if my catastrophe was worse than a couple of inches of water? What if the house burned down? I needed a solution that was both off-site and automatic.
I’d heard of online backup services before, but I had never taken the step to signup. About this time, Backblaze contacted The Father Life about advertising. (Yes, Backblaze is a client of The Father Life. No, I don’t get my backups for free – I pay for them like anyone else!) Through my conversations with their CEO, Gleb Budman, I learned some things that piqued my interest:
Backblaze is automatic: If you’re online, you’re being backed up.
- Backblaze is for anyone: While power users can tweak the settings, Backblaze comes pre-configured to automatically seek out and backup all of your important stuff, no matter where it is on your hard drive.
- Backblaze is cheap: Pay just $5 billed monthly, or $50 billed annually.
- Backblaze is practical: You can get your data back quickly and easily.
That was enough for me to make Backblaze my choice for backup. The fact that their software works on both Windows and Mac was great, since we have a mixed OS household.
whenever you have an active internet connection. The initial backup will take a few days, depending on your connection’s speed. After the initial backup, the software continues to monitor your drive and backs up anything that has changed or been created. You really don’t need to give it any thought at all!
The real beauty of Backblaze, though, is in getting your data back. If you delete a file or even a whole folder, you can login to the Backblaze website and browse your backed up files to find and download the one you’ve lost. If you’ve lost an entire system (Hard drive crash? Stolen laptop? The possibilities are endless.), downloading files might be impractical. Backblaze has a solution for that, two. They can put all of your backed-up data on a DVD or external hard drive and ship it to you overnight. The next day you’ll have everything you need, ready to go. There is an extra cost for this service, but I find the price ($99 for a DVD, $189 for an external USB hard drive) reasonable.
In short, I’ve found Backblaze to be affordable and easy to use – the perfect solution for my automatic, off-site backup needs. Interested in getting Backblaze for yourself? Go to Backblaze.com for more info and a free 15-day trial.
Your Daddy Time: Worth It or Wasted? Worth It! 5/5 stars
Ben Martin is the CEO of THE FATHER LIFE. He lives with his wife and five children in the Rochester, NY, area.