Monday, June 25, 2012

Snapdisk - backup 500GB of data to the Cloud - 1 year free trial...!

Do you backup your data?
If you are like a lot of people I speak to everyday, then you probably don't give it a second thought.

Truth is, there are tons of things that could cause irreversible data loss. 
Here are just a few of the more common ones:

- hard drive failure (either through physical damage, or sometimes hard drives just decide to crash on their own for no good reason... it happens!);

- theft (self-explanatory);

- fire (self-explanatory);

- accidental deletion (you know, where you mistakenly drag and drop that folder into some unknown abyss on your computer...)

These are the biggies, and no matter which way you slice it, you need to have a backup copy of your data somewhere nowadays.

Gone are the days of filing cabinets and thousands of paper hard copies of documentation. 
It's all digital now, and that means that we rely on machines to take care of our data.
Unfortunately though, as I tell all of my clients, it is less a question of "if" a hard drive will fail, but more a question of "when" it will fail.

A hard drive spins at speeds anywhere from 5400RPM, right up to 10000RPM, depending on the drive model and application (server, desktop, laptop etc.) .
That's a lot of work for a hard drive to do, and those moving parts will eventually get tired.
It may take years, decades even, but you can count on it happening at some point.
Thankfully, the speed at which Information Technology is growing and developing, means that a hard drive will probably become obsolete and be replaced, before it has a chance to fail.

Even so, rather be safe than sorry.
So what are our options when backing up data? 
Personally, I recommend external hard drives to get the job done (USB for single machines, NAS Drives for backing up an entire network).
Single drives are now available in sizes up to 3TB (3000GB), which is huge chunk of data, so that means you can pretty much put your entire life onto one of these drives.

So then, is all well in backup land?
Well yes, as long as your external drive never crashes and is locked away in a fire-proof safe whenever it is not backing up...
What then, if your backup drive grows legs, or if the drive gets dropped or otherwise damaged, rendering your backup stone dead?

Enter the Cloud - a glorified term used to describe computing / services / data storage facilities that are internet based.
We have all heard the term, and it is often loosely used in daily conversation, but one of the areas where it is fast gaining traction is for offsite backups.
What a great data insurance policy - dump it somewhere on a server far, far away (protected from power spikes, fire, water etc.), and sleep easy at night knowing that your data is safe.

Having researched available Cloud Backup services exhaustively of late (there are many!), I came across one service recently that seems to have a serious edge over other offerings, in terms of pure value for money...

They call themselves "Snapdisk" (, and here is a summary of what they offer and what you pay (or don't pay...) :):

- 500GB cloud storage to backup any data that you need to, from several machines if necessary (bear in mind that 500GB is a large chunk of data - most new mid-range laptops are shipped with a hard drive in the region of 500GB);
- 1 year free trial; Thereafter $6.95 monthly or $69.95 annually (1 year free? I'll take a year free trial any day thank you very much!);

- Choice of scheduled backups or continuous backups (data is backed up literally as changes are detected);

- PC & Mac compatible;

- Files are available from anywhere with an internet connection via the secure Snapdisk website;

As I learnt more about Snapdisk, my interest got the better of me, and I am now running it to take care of my own backups.
I have to say that so far, Snapdisk is pretty damn good. 
The backup client is easy to install and configure, and it runs smoothly without a significant hit on performance. 
There are also options to control how much bandwidth is being used, so as not to hog the available internet connection while the backup is running.

If Snapdisk continues to impress me over the next few days, weeks and months, then by the time that my 1 year free trial is up, I certainly won't mind paying $7 (approx. R 60) per month to have my data safely stored in the Cloud.
It's incredible how we view our physical possessions as critical items to insure (cars, furniture, phones etc.).
Sure - these are of course important, but at the end of the day, you can always go out and buy a new phone / car / TV / etc.
You cannot say the same for your data.

R 60 per month to guarantee the security of my data, with the first year free?
Sounds like a serious bargain - count me in.
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