Mr. Smarty Pants had it all figured out. Two data backups. One onsite, one in the Cloud. What could go wrong?

Well, it turns out that I was saving the data just fine, but I neglected to think through the recovery part.

The Old Way – Onsite

Our onsite backup was to an external hard drive plugged in to our server. I (cleverly, or so I thought) set up the backup in such a way that no files were ever deleted. That way if a file was ever accidently deleted, it could be recovered. We used this feature a grand total of once in five years.

The problem: the backup had zillions of extraneous files, which made it unsuitable for recovery. Ouch.

The New Way – Onsite

gCo’s chief tech wiz Tony Rocha came up with a better solution. Backup programs have a nasty habit of backing up corrupted data after a crash. I invested in a 3 terabyte external hard drive (on sale at Staples for $109) and Tony created five folders, one for each day of the week. Using an inexpensive program called Handy Backup (there are dozens of similar programs on the market), Tony set up five separate backups, each one pointing to a specific folder on the hard drive. With this system, if a backup is corrupted as the result of a crash, we can go back in time to the last “clean” backup. Much better.

Sure, onsite backups are fine, but what is there is a fire? A flood? Plague? Pestilence?

The Old Way – On the Cloud

Carbonite. It’s not just for freezing Han Solo anymore. Carbonite is an online service that backs up your files to the cloud. It is inexpensive, it works in the background and it is seamless. I can’t say enough good things. Buuuutttt, restoring our files over the internet took days. It was absolutely painful watching the countdown. I could practically hear the angry client calls. Soon enough, I did hear angry client calls.

The New Way – On the Cloud

Carbonite offers a premium subscription service where they will overnight a CD to you with all your data. Recovery now takes minutes, not days. Way better.

They say that the wisest of us learn from other’s mistakes.

So be wise.

– Bob Gagliano

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