Backup Strategies

Posted on by Mike Evans

Along with my adoption of PGP's Whole Disk Encryption, I've also been having a review of my backup strategy. Backups and encryption are pretty boring subjects and the majority of us manage to ignore the need for security against theft, misuse of data or data corruption. Reading the PGP forum has encouraged me to take a good look at all the mistakes I've been making in the past. After good advice from one of the forum contributors, I've downloaded the much-lauded CCC or Carbon Copy Cloner which is yours for free (and, I hope a $10 donation to the developer, Mike Brombich). I've had a number of back-up utilities in the past, but this is the best so far. It is particularly easy to create a cloned bootable disk for use in emergencies. I now have a three-disk backup strategy that I hope will see me through any disaster. First, there is a complete clone of the MacBook Pro's HDD on a similarly sized LaCie Little Disk (320GB). After cloning, I encrypted the disk using PGP. Apart from the absolute protection of data, such a disk can only be read by a computer already running PGP (and with my private key). This backup synchronises incrementally every night so it is never more than 24 hours out of date. Secondly, I have another non-bootable disk to second LaCie Little Disk which contains a Knox encrypted volume. I chose Knox rather than PGP because it gives me an alternative way of accessing the data in a real emergency. Finally, I have an off-site backup of critical data that I can keep away from home. At the moment it's in the car but updates automatically through CCC as soon as I connect it. And I nearly forgot: I have Time Machine copying to my Time Capsule. I know this is my Achilles' heel because it isn't encrypted. I'm just hoping any burglars won't find it sitting in its little cupboard. Call me paranoid but....

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