How to Have the Best Umbrella – Using on-site and cloud-based backups to prepare the for the worst rainy day

Office worker slumped on his desk

As computers become a bigger part of our lives, our pictures, documents, movies, and other data are increasingly stored on our computers or devices. Those hard drives and gadgets are susceptible to being dropped, stolen, damaged, or lost, not to mention the fact that they fail on their own once in a while. The need to be confident in our backup has never been greater.

On Site Backup

Having a local hard drive that backs up everything on your computer is a necessity. With a Mac, Time Machine makes backing up your entire computer a no-brainer. All you need for Time Machine is a hard drive that can connect to your Mac. You can find good deals on the kinds of hard drives needed at Configuring Time Machine is as simple as:

Open System Preferences, select Time Machine, turn Time Machine on and select your new hard drive. The Mac operating system will take care of the rest.

You should set this up immediately if you’re not already backing your computer up somehow.

Off-Site Backup

A local Time Machine backup is fast, inexpensive, and comprehensive. But it does no good in the case of theft, fire, or hurricanes, any one of which could damage all the electronics in your home. Because of this danger, I strongly suggest to have an off-site backup in addition to a local Time Machine backup. My personal favorite is CrashPlan from Code 42. CrashPlan is a free program that runs on your computer. It can back up to another computer, a server in your network, or, as we’re discussing in this case, the CrashPlan cloud. For a reasonable price (there are cheaper alternatives out there. If you know what you’re doing, by all means, save a bit of money here– I think CrashPlan is the easiest and best offsite backup for the price), CrashPlan will backup all the most important files from your computer to their data center.

Once you install CrashPlan, you need to create an account. Here’s where you would sign up for the paid account, which is what you’ll need for off-site backup to CrashPlan. Configure CrashPlan for backing up to CrashPlan Central, which is their data center. Once its configure, CrashPlan will take care of the rest in the background. CrashPlan even throttles its own speed so your internet browsing is not negatively affected.


Having a complete local backup, and a secondary, cloud-based backup should help you rest easier.  As Jimmy Fallon’s character says in Almost Famous, “I didn’t invent the rainy day, man. I just own the best umbrella.”


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