You’re Doing It Wrong: Data backups in the Real World.

Clients folder

This morning, in the wee hours of the witching hour, a classic techie nightmare played itself out.

My folder – the super critical, important one called “Clients” was gone. Inexplicably.

Every. Single. Client. Project. This Year.


Not on any of my hard drives, including my nightly cloned drives and my Time Machine back-ups.

It was the beginning of a horrible nightmare, except I was experiencing it while fully awake.

To make matters worse (and hence the panic), I came to learn that the files I *thought* I had backed up via Time Machine and SuperDuper (because I’m paranoid like that), were completely missing from my computer.

I searched. I panicked. I swore. And I might have even punched an old lady, because I faced the daunting task of spending countless hours of my time against a very aggressive deadline re-doing 10 missing comic pages from scratch.

My nightly backups had no trace of the folder. Which meant that my “Clients” folder was missing for more than a day. A Time Machine search revealed that I had 5 days of “missing time” – no back-ups whatsoever from the past week (!).

I was crestfallen.

And then I remembered I had Backblaze.

You never really know how good your off-site backup provider is until you have to actually use them. This was the acid test. Would Backblaze live up to its hype and save the day? Or would I face the prognosis of having to cram an all-nighter to redo work that absolutely had to be completed yesterday?

Thankfully, Backblaze had my back. And all my files. I logged into the Backblaze site and selected the folders I wanted to restore. Within a few minutes, I received a confirmation “download” link to retrieve my files. 15 minutes later, my 2.8GB of data was on my desktop.

But were my files intact?

Ab-so-freaking-lutely. Every last one. I did the happy dance. I kissed the sky. It was glorious.

What’s the take-away from this blog post?

External drives are NOT a fail-safe back-up mechanism. For total peace of mind when it comes to safely and securely storing your data, you need an online back-up.

And for me, my preferred online backup solution is Backblaze. Now where’s my sleep?


These beautiful and intelligent people wrote

  • Chad
    June 11, 2012 at 9:19 am

    I’m a huge proponent of multiple backups in multiple physical locations. It is virtually impossible to argue that $5-10 a month isn’t worth the hours/days of recreating critical data, if recreation is even possible. For several years now I’ve used 2 online backup solutions for my critical files plus an external hard drive. I’m probably in the “overkill” category with my backups, but that thought will only exist until I have a disaster (like you did) and Backblaze / CrashPlan / Mozy / SkyDrive / Dropbox save the day.