I keep all of my personal and client files on an external 4TB hard drive. In a matter of minutes it stopped responding. It was working fine, then it wasn’t. This is the stuff of nightmares.


Last week I experienced what would have been a catastrophic data loss. My backups saved me. My business would have ground to a halt without them. I would have lost hundreds of hours of work on my own family photos too.

Fortunately, I have a redundant backup system in place, so instead of panicking for days, I got to work recovering my files. Usually redundancy is seen as something you don’t want – something extra and unnecessary. This is an instance where redundancy is a very good thing.

There are two types of backups that you should have in place: local and remote. Local means that the backup is in the same place as your computer. Maybe this is a large capacity external hard drive in your office. Remote refers to offsite backup, like cloud storage.

I have a local backup with Time Machine (this came with my MacBook Air). Time Machine automatically backs up your files at set intervals. Its ideal setup is being connected wirelessly to the backup drive so it can do its thing even if your computer is in another room. Once you set it up, you don’t have to think about performing a backup – it happens automatically whenever your backup drive is connected.

(I currently have Time Machine backing up to a wired hard drive, so it needs to be plugged in for the backup to occur. I was working in the living room for a few days before the crash, so the files I had been working in were out of date in the backup drive, but this was a relatively small percentage, so the Time Machine backup was very useful!)

I moved all the folders from the Time Machine backup to my new external hard drive. This took about 4 hours.

This left me with the three main folders I had been editing in the few days before the crash that I needed the most updated version of.

My remote backup is via Backblaze. Backblaze is an online cloud backup. It is super important to have an offsite backup. Why? Because if your computer and your backup are in the same room, and there’s a fire, well, you’re shit outta luck. Cloud backups are inexpensive, safe, and reliable.

Backblaze also backs up automatically at set intervals, however it sends the information to servers elsewhere. So the three folders I had been editing (with about 27 gigs of data total—my image files are huge) were safe on the cloud. I requested Backblaze to email me the data, and 3 days later everything was as it had been.

This experience revealed to me how important it is to have both a local and a cloud backup. There was a while where I thought one was enough, however without the local backup, I would have had to download 150 gigs of files (which would have taken literally forever, and would have cost me valuable working time). Fortunately, for large restores, Backblaze can download it all to a drive and then send you that, for a fee.

If you don’t have a regular backup, do it today! Drives fail without warning and there is so much to lose that can be prevented with just a simple click today!

*Backblaze link above is an affiliate link