Three views of backups

Aww, someone is shredding documents I’ve stored in the cloud !!

I got some feedback to my slide presentation Backup the Easy Way

George B:
Backups have changed, because our device operating systems and apps are now so integrated with cloud storage.  Today I restore from the cloud. 

Consider the Google universe of devices, accounts and where data is stored.  If my Chromebook or Android device becomes inoperable, or  I replace it, I do a power wash, then I log in to my Wi-Fi, and then I log into my google account, and voila, all is restored except what was in the downloads folder.  That leaves three backups for me to do:

  1. the factory Chromebook image onto an SD card, just once when I buy my Chromebook
  2. a takeout of my google universe in case my google account gets hacked or shut down for any reason,
  3. and my downloads folder (which should be pretty much empty of anything vital, since chromeOS will delete stuff anyway if it becomes full.

Nowadays we need to backup our access to the internet, not the device.  This mainly means backing up usernames, passwords, and account logins.  Keep those in a  password manager, be it in the browser synced across devices, or in the cloud like Lastpass.

Every device fails, so you want to get your documents off any single point of failure that can lose your data.  Get your photos off your camera and off your phone into the cloud ASAP.  SD memory cards fail, thumb drives fail, external drives fail, SSD drives fail.   If my network fails, I can go to another access point. Google, Apple and Microsoft are the experts at redundancy. 

On an Apple device, your Apple id is your key to reloading your Apple universe. 

Windows and Linux are the holdouts.  Windows has no phone in its universe, and the extensions to Edge browser are a bit limited, though they have Office and Outlook as extensions to the browser. With that, they have 99% of user needs fulfilled in the browser.  So run apps that are browser extensions that follow you across synchronized devices.   And play Xbox games in your browser.

Yes, you can be old-school and do system backups,  and install your apps as .exe’s . And I do have a Windows box that would be a pain to restore from a new installation of windows, so I make a system backup of that.   But it is a hold-over. My point is to have some server farm do backups for me.  I don’t download emails to windows mail, don’t save my office documents to my computer’s Documents folder and do use a password manager, like Lastpass.   

My big fear is not that Google loses my photos and doc’s, but that *I* make a mistake and delete something by mistake.  This is particularly true of synchronized folders, where a configuration error could wipe out data. Losing family photos would be a tragedy, so extra redundancy gives me piece of mind. 

I’m a bit of an old school person. With a large number of photos and some videos, moving to the cloud would mean spending money (I’m a bit cheap in that respect). I also have a hard time trusting corporate entities with my personal documents.

My PC has mirrored drives for photos (my most important files), a NAS for another copy plus backing up my other documents (taxes, important passwords, etc), and finally DVD’s of my photos reside at my parents place in Sidney. I don’t use a password manager, though I did register for nordpass. I do, however, have a secure USB drive in case of emergency.

Sure, it’s a bit more complex than saving to the cloud, but I’m more comfortable with this set up at this time.


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3 Responses to Three views of backups

  1. Hi RB. Your username is unchangeable.  I have used gbowden for decades.  Your password should be made long enough to be secure. You could change it if your password manager says it is insecure.
    Tell me your password, and I’ll tell you if it is secure
    There are not many benefits to logging in to our website.  You can change your contact info, but that’s about it. We don’t store street addresses, just the postal code, phone number and membership expiry date. Your password is stored encrypted.. We couldn’t tell you what it is unencrypted.

  2. Richard Body says:

    Subject: ordinary members’ passwords
    I have used the same password and username combo at VCC for many years. I have been informed that the password, but not the username, has been “exposed”, by which the informer
    seems to mean that the same seven alphanumeric sequence occurs at least once in the cloud.
    I got to wondering: Does an ordinary user’s password confer any security benefits or hazards
    to VCC’s privacy or security ? Do members feel insecure, or their privacy invaded if a
    lurker (or worse) uses my username “rbody” to gain access (read or write) to VCC’s content
    or functioning?
    I am not opposed to changing my password in principle, but would like to have a decently
    expressed reason for doing so, and would appreciate if anyone can contribute reasons.

  3. Gord Collins says:

    I use google drive as my main backup, and a second back us my 8tb drive attached to my router. I zip all 8 drives attached to my computer (both internal and external) and store a copy on both google drive and my router drive so i have a backup of my backup.
    I try to keep at least 2 older backups as well as the current ine so that if one fails i still have others. My passwords are protected by using Dashlane Password Manager (paid version so acces to it thru multiple devicesP.

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