How Paranoid Should You Be For Backing Up Your Data?

Backup Backup Backup - And Test Restores

Backup Backup Backup – And Test Restores (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you ask me what is the best way to backup your data, I will probably direct your concern to more than one way.  I like to think of not placing all of your eggs in one basket kind of scenario.  What’s the point of backing up data in the first place?  It’s to hope that when things go crazy such as a computer’s data corruption might occur, you can then access your most valuable backup data.  If you only rely on one preferable backup method, then what if in a critical moment that even the backup data isn’t accessible through your preferable only backup method, what will you do then?  Even a perfect storm is a possible scenario for spreading eggs in more than one basket, therefore I think being paranoid about safekeeping your data with more than one preferable backup method is the best way to go about doing the backups for your valuable data.

For us normal folks, the regular Joe(s), who have data that we want to safeguard, it’s a must for us to spread our data in more than one basket.  It must not be that you have to be a company to take this approach.  Furthermore, nowadays regular Joe(s) do have plenty of ways to go about doing backups for their data.  Let me list few of them:

  • Google Drive
  • Pogoplug
  • Dropbox
  • Amazon Simple Storage Service
  • CrashPlan
  • External hard drives
  • Network attach storage solution such as QNAP NAS servers
  • Do it yourself FreeNAS server solution
  • rsync to a renting server with affordable monthly fee

And the list can go on a lot longer as third party cloud services are now in amble supply.  I think the problem isn’t about finding a backup solution or solutions for the regular Joe(s), but it’s about the affordability, speed, security, and conveniency aspects.  Let say, if a regular Joe wants to spread his backup data in more than one basket, how affordable can this be?  So on and so on…

I think affordability should not be as big of an issue as before the time when there were no third party cloud service and competitive (affordable) computer hardware pricing.  If you don’t intend to harbor 100 of Gigabytes worth of data for streaming purpose or whatever extreme configuration, backing up few Gigabytes worth of data should not cost you much at all.  Perhaps, you can do it at no cost too.  One example, I think Google Drive gives you around 10 Gigabytes worth of free data space or a little bit more than this, and just with this service alone you know you don’t have to spend a dime to backup your data as long you are not going over the free space limitation that Google Drive allows.  Don’t like third party cloud services for whatever reasons?  Computer hardware such as external hard drives nowadays are no longer pricing at outrageous prices, therefore it’s easier for regular Joe(s) to go this route for doing their data backups.  How about coupling Linux with a spare, dusty computer to form a local backup storage server at zero cost in term of money, but you have to spend time on putting things together such as installing Linux and deploying Linux’s network attached storage services to have a more complete backup server solution.

I can see that the many third party cloud services as good solutions for doing backups.  How come?  Let say you’re paranoid about the safety of your data to a point that you consider the scenario where local backup data can all be corrupted at the same time for whatever reasons such as a virus/hack attack (or by even a more nefarious scenario), therefore you think third party cloud services are the additional safety reservoirs for your backup data.  If you are this paranoid, I think you’re doing it right.  Although third party cloud services are good measures against local data corruption, there are problems with this whole approach in general.  Let me list a few:

  • Broadband’s upload speed (Internet connection) isn’t fast enough to do a major backup (i.e., backing up huge amount of data in Gigabytes worth)
  • Security issue… how do we know our data can be securely safeguarded and stored on the remote servers?
  • Trust issue… such as how do we know our data privacy and our privacy won’t be breached on the remote servers?

I sneakily snuck in the speed and security concerns about backing up data remotely through third party cloud services, but we should not take the security issue lightly since many people may not want their privately backup data to be made known to the whole world.  Security done right in term of backing up data locally and remotely, this will also address the privacy issue/concern too.  I think employing good network and computer security measures locally will enhance the security protection level for the backup data.  Such measures should be about employing hardware and software firewall, antivirus, and so on.  Don’t forget to update the software and firmware, because through updating these things that you can be assured of weeding out security bugs.  You can never be too sure about the security of your data when you’re backing up your data remotely, therefore you should employing encryption for your backup data before you upload your backup data to the remote servers.  One good encryption measure I know of is TrueCrypt software which can be downloaded and used freely.

I don’t think we should sacrifice our data security for conveniency, because data security is definitely more important than otherwise.  Still, conveniency should be considered in the calculation of our data backup challenge too.  It’s just that we have to make sure we don’t have to sacrifice data security for conveniency.  Let say, you want to backup your data to a third party cloud service, but you don’t like the idea of doing a local encryption for your data first… this means you are sacrificing your data security for conveniency and this is truly bad for you as the owner of the backup data (i.e., privacy concern).

In summary, I think if you’re paranoid enough about the health of your data, then you should devise many backup plans for your data.  You should try to backup your data both locally and remotely, but you should employ encryption for your data when you do backup your data remotely.  Backing up huge amount of data remotely can be very inconvenient at this point in time since so many regular Joe(s) do not have access to fast upload broadband speed.  Let hope this will change soon, and I know things will be moving in this direction since data streaming and data sharing and data backup are in much more demand than ever before.  One example would be Google fiber Internet service.  Google is driving the Internet Service Provider competition forward as Google deploys its Gigabit Internet connection service for many households in various lucky cities and towns.  With Google pushing for more competition in the area of broadband speed, I think the future — having great Internet connection for uploading our backups — is definitely bright.  As time is moving on, the costs of computer backup hardware and backup services can be even more competitive, we can expect the cost of deploying backup measures for our data can only get cheaper and easier.  I like the idea of having a NAS locally, and using one or two third party cloud services for my data backups.

(How paranoid should you be for backing up your data?  In my opinion, the answer should be, the more the merrier.)


Sending Email Attachment Larger Than 25MB Through Gmail Email Using Google Drive

English: Gmail logo

English: Gmail logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today, I’ve found out that sending an attachment which is larger than 25MB or so won’t be possible through Gmail email.  Luckily, Gmail email service is intertwining with Google’s other web applications such as Google Drive, and through Google Drive I’m able to send attachment which is larger than 25MB.  Don’t know if it’s true or not, you can basically tell Gmail email to insert an attachment through Google Drive that is large as a decent video file size.  Isn’t it cool?

Nice Try Google, But You Can Do Better Right? Chromebook Pixel Is Nice, But It Should Be Nicer!!!

chromebook pixel

chromebook pixel (Photo credit: Frances Berriman)

Is Chromebook Pixel real or just a concept?  It seems that arstechnica reported that Chromebook Pixel is indeed a real product.  According to arstechnica’s “Google’s new touchscreen Chromebook Pixel: a $1,299 laptop for cloud dwellers” article, Google had just announced the existence of Chromebook Pixel.  If Chromebook Pixel is real, so?  The buzz about Chromebook Pixel is that it’s an exotic animal.  By this I mean it’s basically a machine which mainly focuses on staying connect to the Internet only, but it’s a very gorgeous only online machine (if we discount that it does have some offline features).  I’m sure it got some offline features, but it is designed to be working with the cloud.  It’s no surprised really since Chromebook Pixel is a more expensive version of other Google’s Chromebook products.  So, Chromebook Pixel is more of a beast among Chromebook products, but its core functionality is still all about cloud functionalities.  Simply really, Chromebook Pixel is just a lot more gorgeous in terms of screen resolution and other whistles and bells.

arstechnica reported that Chromebook Pixel has screen resolution of 2560×1700 with 239 pixel per inch, 1.8GHz Intel Core i5 processor, 4GB RAM, 32GB flash storage for Wi-Fi model and 64GB flash storage for LTE model.  By purchasing Chromebook Pixel, a customer will get 1TB of Google Drive cloud storage for free for 3 years.  Cloud storage?  If you never heard of cloud but know of Dropbox, then Google Drive is somewhat similar to Dropbox.  1TB of Dropbox would be nice eh?  So, if you like Dropbox that much, then I guess 1TB of Google Drive is definitely one of those temptations that is hard to refuse.

It seems that the screen resolution for Chromebook Pixel is the main focus, because 2560×1700 is a lot.  It’s a beast!  I’m not a fan of i5 processor, therefore in term of processor Chromebook Pixel is a let down for me.  4 GB of RAM only?  In my opinion, 4GB of RAM for any machine from today onward isn’t enough (but you might think otherwise and I don’t mind).  Since Chromebook Pixel is an always online machine, 32 or 64 GB of flash storage does make sense until it doesn’t.  How come?  In my opinion, the 2560×1700 screen is a waste on Chromebook Pixel.  I’m reasoning that whoever wants to work with such beautiful/exotic screen resolution might need to store humongous sizes of visual data (e.g., videos, photos, etc…), but what Chromebook Pixel doesn’t carry — Chromebook doesn’t support USB 3.0 and 802.11ac Wi-Fi speed — will hamper the productivity of whoever wants to use Chromebook Pixel in a more hardcore manner.

Now, if Chromebook Pixel supports USB 3.0 and 802.11ac Wi-Fi standard, even though Chromebook Pixel doesn’t have huge local drive storage space, I will definitely want a Chromebook Pixel for myself, even with the current might be Chromebook Pixel’s price range $1200 – $1400.  How come?  Let pretend that I’m a real photographer (because I’m only an aspiring one), I definitely have tons of photos and videos to store, to make backups of, and the likes.  With USB 3.0 support, I can use USB 3.0 capability to speedily transfer my videos and photos back and forth between the external hard drives and Chromebook Pixel, because making data backups is so important to people like the photographers.  Let say I’m a paranoid data integrity and data redundancy freak, and so if Chromebook Pixel supports 802.11ac standard, I can definitely speed up my backup of data to the cloud.

You see, I think Chromebook Pixel lacks some really important features even though it is obviously designed to be an online only machine.  I think Chromebook Pixel should not emphasize an online only machine to the point that alienates the good features that it supposes to carry for offline needs.  Instead of carrying USB 3.0, Chromebook Pixel carries USB 2.0.  We know USB 3.0 is the way forward, but people are also comparing USB 3.0 against Thunderbolt too.  This is why it’s so weird for me to see Chromebook Pixel carries only USB 2.0.  Perhaps, not carrying any USB support at all might make more sense than not carrying USB 3.0?  Also, faster Wi-Fi is always a must have feature.  We know that we have the faster Wi-Fi capability through 802.11ac standard/capability, but Chromebook Pixel decides to not support 802.11ac?

Besides the lack of various important features I mentioned, Chromebook Pixel does look like a very nice toy.  From what I’ve seen of it, it looks nice!  The screen, the body, and the shape of Chromebook Pixel speaks to me in a very positive manner.  Simply put, I love the overall look of Chromebook Pixel.  Unfortunately, it reminds me of Macbook products.  Fortunately, I think it might look even better than Macbook Pro, but I’m not sure unless I can see and touch it (only see a video of it).  Oh yeah, if you think I’m a Mac fanatic, then you don’t know me at all.  Obviously, that should be the case since you don’t know me at all in real life.  Nonetheless, let me reveal to you something about me, I’m also a Windows 8 and Linux fanatical sort of person.  If I know another good sort of OS-brand-hardware type out there, I might as well be a fanatic for such too…

Before I end this post, let me say that you can also reach out and touch that beautiful Chromebook Pixel’s screen.  How come?  It’s a touchscreen yo!  Check out the Chromebook Pixel in the video right after the break.  Enjoy!!!