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MacTech Boot Camp: Back Up Your Mac

Screen shot from Background Backup's website.

Yesterday I spent the day at MacTech Boot Camp, for Mac IT professionals.

Sean Costello, founder of Irongate and Background Backup, gave a presentation on backups, archiving, and restoring data on the Mac. The information he provided is useful to anyone running a business—because it’s important to think about a backup system before a disaster strikes.

Here are my 7 takeaways from his presentation.

1. “Your backup system should be like a fire drill—it should be preparation for a worst-case scenario.

2. It’s not about the backup, it’s really about the restore. When talking with clients about backup, focus on the experience of restoring data when taking about options and cost. How important is the speed of restore? How many hours can your clients’ computers be down without a significant loss in income or productivity?

3. Know the difference between a backup and an archive. A backup is to quickly get access to data you were recently using (or are in the middle of using). An archive is storage of old work you don’t think you’ll need often (or maybe at all). Don’t forget to back up your archives.

4. Consider the frequency of your backup. Does it need to be every hour, every day, every week? “Can you afford and are you prepared to lose everything you’ve worked on since your last backup?”

5. Consider encrypting your local backup drive. If your backup is lost or stolen, nobody will be able to access the contents.

6. Schedule test restores regularly—put them in your calendar for once a month. To decide which file to test restore, print out a list of files and drop a pen. Wherever it lands, that’s the file you should do a test restore of. That way, your tests are truly random.

7. Make sure your clients know how to do their own restores of files, in case they need something urgently and can’t get in touch with you.

As the website says, backup is all about “Peace of mind.”

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IvanExpert provides superior Mac, iPhone, and iPad support for small businesses and home users in New York City. We provide on-site help with a range of Apple computer and mobile issues.

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