Backups and Syncing

When my data died, it was the cloud that killed it. The triggers hackers used to break into my accounts and delete my files were all cloud-based services — iCloud, Google, and Amazon. Some pundits have latched onto this detail to indict our era of cloud computing. Yet just as the cloud enabled my disaster, so too was it my salvation.

The Mat Honan hacking saga has me (and, I’m sure, a lot of other people) taking a hard look at my personal backup and security system.

I have three devices that I keep synced up: an iPhone, an iPad, and a work iMac. I use iCloud where there’s no other option, and of course my two devices backup over-the-air to that. For the rest, and wherever possible, I use Dropbox. I have my Dropbox nested inside my Google Drive folder, which offers a sort of belt-and-braces redundancy. All of my current work files are in this, as well as various other projects, and of course a giant folder full of text files.

I use 1password religiously, and so the only passwords I need to remember are my email, dropbox, and 1password - which is easy enough1.

I was actually pleasantly surprised to find that setting my devices up to sync in various ways with each other had also inadvertantly resulted in a decent backup system. However, it’s all in the cloud, and it would be nice to have something that wasn’t so inextricably reliant on Dropbox. So as an improvement I’m thinking about having my files also backup to the work file server, which runs Lion2. I need to figure out how to auto-mount the network drives, and also how to keep the server files synced with the Dropbox folder on my iMac. I assume that Hazel will do the trick.

  1. I finally started using 1password a while back, after years of using the same (admittedly fairly arcane) password for almost everything. I now look back and shudder to think of what would have happened had one of the hundred things I used it for have been compromised. 

  2. This is also available remotely, in a pinch.