Thursday, March 31, 2011

World Backup Day

Is it World Backup Day already? Time sure does fly! It feels like this day was thought of only last week. Oh yeah, it was.
According to Ars Technica, today (March 31, 2011) is the first World Backup Day, and hopefully not the last. Check out the World Backup Day website for information and deals.
Just like the Ars contributors, I'll go ahead and write a few words about my backup strategy. Most of my data doesn’t change often, especially the bits that can’t be replaced. I do most of my real backups manually, about once a week. Some of these procedures will be automated in the future, but I’m not in a huge hurry to get this done.  I also use Gnu Privacy Guard with each of these processes.  Some data can (and should) be encrypted twice.
How I backup my data depends on how important I believe that data is. Very important data gets encrypted and stored in multiple (local and off-site) locations. Less important data may be backed up to a removable drive, saved on multiple systems, or even occasionally written to a cd-r.
For my most important data, I use the online backup service Tarsnap. It claims to be the "Online backups for the truly paranoid," and encrypts the data on the local system before uploading it. The service has saved me time and effort after a failure, so I’ll be sticking with it for a while. If nothing else, tarsnap gives me an excuse to use the term "picodollar."
I also have a free Dropbox account. More things get saved here than my tarsnap account, but they are less sensitive. I also keep the things I’d like to be able to access from my phone in my dropbox. Anything I don’t want other people to see gets encrypted with gnupg.
My offline backups include saving files to multiple systems. This might protect me against one drive dying, but it isn’t a good long term strategy. But that’s why I use the online backup services. I also have a portable USB hard drive I take with me on trips. It pulls data off of other systems nightly (one of the few automated processes I have setup).
So however you do it, backup your data today!