Home > Apple, Backups, Computer, Malware > My Ultra-Paranoid Backup Strategy

My Ultra-Paranoid Backup Strategy

I am super-paranoid about losing data. I have ben using digital cameras since 1999. My oldest Daughter was one at the time.

DSC00007 (format change to JPEG High Quality)

This is the first digital camera picture I took of Megan.
There does not appear to be EXIF data on the picture, but I know it was an HP PhotoSmart camera.

Over the years, I’ve done a lot of things to protect these important files. I’ve burned then to CD and DVD, I’ve copied them to external drives and thumb drives. I’ve backed them up to Mozy (back when they actually had a reasonably-priced unlimited plan), then Carbonite (until I hit their cap where while they don’t tell you you cannot upload anything else, they slow down the upload to basically enforce a limit).

At one point, I was using Crash Plan to back up to a hard drive at a friend’s house. (Restarting it every few days to keep Java from using all the memory on my computer) I’m also using Dropbox to store and sync files between all of my computers.

But, I never felt safe.

I have been using a plan the past year or so that made me feel pretty safe. It allowed me to survive a lightning strike that took out a computer and several hard drives without losing any actual data. So, I was pretty happy with where I was from a backup perspective, until I read Rob Pickering’s Cryptolocker post.

Right now, I have my main computer that has all of my pictures (both from digital camera, scanned from prints or from digitized from Advantix film cartridges) and home movies (from VHS, VHS-C, DV, Digital Cameras and HD camcorder) along with all of my documents (most in my Dropbox folder) on it. All of this data is what I am trying to protect at all cost (somewhat literally!)

This computer is on a full time-machine backup to a drive connected to another computer on my network (this is what allowed most of my recovery from the lightning strike, if the time machine drive had been connected via USB or Firewire, it probably would have been toast.) This computer is the one that got struck by lightning. The lightning strike was through my cable lines through an eyeTV HD into the USB port on the computer. Apple tried to fix the computer under AppleCare. They replaced the mother board, power supply, hard drive and video card and then said, we’re just going to give you a new computer.

Okay. So, main drive backed up via time machine. I also have a Hazel script that copies key files to a Transporter
virtual directory which causes them to be written to a Transporter that is (at least for now) in my house. I am also using BitTorrent Sync to back up those files to an external drive connected to a third computer. I also manually copy the files on a regular basis to a Drobo attached to the same computer that is hosting my Time Machine backup

Finally, I run a nightly backup to mypcbackup.com where I have 902GB of data stored.

So, let’s see. how many copies is that:

  1. Internal Drive
  2. Time Machine Backup
  3. Transporter
  4. BitTorrent Sync
  5. Drobo
  6. mypcbackup.com
  7. Dropbox

But, the thought of a malware that can encrypt my files and possibly do it in such a way that they do not get renamed and then the encrypted files overwrite the files that are out there and then if it waits 30 days or so, I may not have versions that exist before they were encrypted.

The only option is to have off-the-grid backups!

So, I am going to add a rotating set of drives to the BitTorrent Sync. That drive, right now is a bare internal drive in a rescue dock. I’m going to get 3 more drives. I will label them A, B, C, D and rotate them out every 2 weeks. That will give me 2 months of backups and three off-the-grid copies.

One OTG drive will be in a fireproof safe, one will be in a safe deposit box, and one will be locked up at work.

I’ll set up repeating reminders so I remember to swap them out on schedule and sleep a little easier at night. (For now…)

What over-the-top backup strategies do you use to protect your data?

  1. robpickering
    November 3, 2013 at 12:45 pm

    My most important data is: Backed up to an external drive via Time Machine that I keep at work (encrypted), Backed up to our CrashPlan PROe server at work, Backed up to a Drobo attached to my Mac mini at home, copied to my Transporter, and finally, backed up via Arq 2 (encrypted) to my Amazon S3 storage. Backups and versions of files on Amazon S3 date back to December, 2012.

  2. Todd Kennedy
    September 2, 2014 at 3:29 am

    Here is a very simple solution: create an Amazon EC2 server, and install Bittorrent sync on it. The files on your computer will then sync with the Amazon EC2 server. Then, write a script that backs up your Amazon volume every day (or every hour, or whatever you choose). Even if all the files on your computer are somehow encrypted, your Amazon volume backups will still be secure.

  1. December 20, 2016 at 11:11 pm

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