What I use for backup

I have tried SO MANY backup products – not just to find out what’s best – but to learn what’s available. What I settled on was as follows:

[1] Scheduled local backup via Carbon Copy Cloner (CCC) to locally attached USB3 drive (bootable).
[2] Scheduled offline backup via CloudBerry Backup using S3 connection to Wasabi storage.
[3] Manual backups via CloudBerry Backup of critical files (daily usually if used) of PVMs of external SSD drive.

Because I work from home on a national IT team, I often go out to coffee house or alternate locations with good internet and work. I use Macs but my job requires Windows for work environment so I use Parallels PVM of Windows 10. That PVM is backed up manually as needed offline.

I made sure ALL backup products use local encryption before backing up over “wire” to offline location. And I make sure that key is created by me and encrypted data can only be decrypted by my key alone.

I also started using Wasabi storage because it is EXTREMELY inexpensive especially compared to Amazon S3.

I do like Time Machine’s ability to alternate between several back-up drives. I try to keep 3 back-up disks up-to-date with Time Machine, with one of them kept in my car for “off site” backup (not perfect I know!). From time to time I have successfully restored files from these backups and even used them to set up a new (replacement) Mac. The last time was the iTunes itl index file after accidentally selecting to merge iCloud Music with my local library and losing all my playlists (music & video).
After major OS updates I also create a CCC backup but have never tested a restore.
Finally for a few very critical files like my email & accounts I backup to 25Gb Bluray disks, which are supposed to last for 20 years - if a Bluray drive is still available from a museum :)

A good mix! Have you checked to see how easy/fast/reliable it is to restore from each of these methods?

Yeah, cars would seem like a good place, except for the temperature extremes that are possible in many parts of the world. And shock, if you drive on bumpy roads a lot.

Absolutely, I tested restores and how long they take — especially when you need to restore possibly just a file or two from another device / location with encryption enabled.

Being a Backup Engineer (NetBackup Enterprise) for Ascension, we jump a lot of hoops for testing at our sites.

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Since last year 1tB SSD drives have become relatively inexpensive and I now use one for a Time Machine backup of my office iMac. So I have a mixture of SSD and (mechanical) hard drives for backups. Hopefully the SSD drive is less susceptible to damage from vibrations and temperature extremes in my offsite location (spare wheel well of my car)…" Most SSDs are rated for running within a temperature range of 0ºC up to a max temp of 70ºC (32ºF to 158ºF)." Although I have come across an article that warn about reduced power-off retention time at high storage temps. ( SSDs can lose data in as little as 7 days without power - ExtremeTech )

The USB-C connection to the iMac makes the SSD drive noticeably faster for these backups.

Great topic! Like [dbrianhendrix], my backup process involves the use of CCC and a weekly reminder on my calendar. One advantage of having a 2009 MacPro is being able to use an open bay for the backup hard drive. (I also have another hard drive I keep disconnected for infrequent secondary backups.) As for verifying that the backup works, I had to use it at least once last year due to a conflict with some new software I’d installed. So I simply started up from the backup drive and replaced the data on the main drive, easy as cake.

As convenient it would be to use an automated, hands-off process for backups, doing it manually provides a sense of confidence that the backups have been completed properly.

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