November 20th, 2017

Secure Your Startup’s Data: Create a Robust Backup System in Three Phases

As the Official Data Storage Provider of Extreme Tech Challenge 2018, OWC knows firsthand how crucial it is for any startup to protect its crucial data. And while we offer the hardware to help build a robust backup system, we also know the importance of educating business owners on how to build a backup plan.

So we’ve put together a bulletproof three-phase plan for Mac users to ensure that any startup is protected from catastrophic data loss.

Phase 1: Basic Time Machine

A basic Time Machine backup that needs only an external drive you can connect to your Mac. MacSales.com offers a wide variety of OWC external drives, either an empty case that you can use to build your own custom storage system, or external storage devices complete with a drive, just waiting to be plugged into your Mac.

It’s easy to use, it comes with your Mac so there are no apps to buy or install, and because it’s so easy to use, you’re more likely to use it. Even better, once it’s set up, it pretty much takes care of itself.

Our blog, the Rocket Yard, has an in-depth article on the basics of Time Machine, including how to initially set up a drive for use with Time Machine: What Time Machine Is, How It Works, How to Use It With Your Mac

 Phase 2: Multi-Drive Time Machine

The second phase will add redundancy and security to a Time Machine-based backup system by making use of Time Machine’s ability to work with multiple drives. A multi-drive Time Machine system allows for a lot of versatility, including the valuable ability to create offsite backups.

You can use multiple single drive enclosures, or use one of the multi-bay storage systems, to reduce cable clutter and cut back on the number of ports in use on your Mac. Time Machine doesn’t update all the backup drives at once; the drives aren’t mirrored as in a RAID 1 array. Instead, a round robin scheduling system is used; Time Machine updates the drive with the oldest backup. Since Time Machine updates once per hour, each Time Machine drive can be an hour or more behind the most current version.

This may seem like a disadvantage, but it ensures that when Time Machine is writing or removing data from one drive, the other backup drives won’t be affected by any failure that may occur during the backup process.

An additional feature of using multiple Time Machine backup drives is that you can use one of the backups for offsite storage. Time Machine drives can be ejected from your Mac and taken offsite for added data security, and when brought back, can be mounted on your Mac, which will cause Time Machine to update them automatically

Offsite storage can be a real data saver if your Mac is involved in a fire or theft.

Phase 3: Startup Clone

The third and final phase will add a second type of backup: a clone of your startup drive that will allow you to swiftly recover from a disastrous drive failure, and also allow you to quickly restore your Mac’s system and recover any Time Machine backup files you need.

There are various cloning apps available, with perhaps the two most popular being Carbon Copy Cloner and SuperDuper. Both offer the ability to create bootable clones and both have a scheduling system that you can use to automate the cloning process. Scheduling ensures that your clones remain current, which in turn ensures that if you ever need to use the clone to boot from, you’re booting into a relatively recent copy of your Mac’s startup drive.

The Rocket Yard has covered the use of cloning apps as part of a backup strategy, so check out: Bootable Backups: A Key Part of Your Complete Backup Plan.

No matter which backup strategy you employ, make sure that it’s a robust and reliable system that can serve your startup’s needs for a long time to come!