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Small-Business Backups Made Simple

When using Mac computers in your business, as with any other computer, your data is important. In a way, your data is more important, as if a computer fails, you can get a new one; but if you lose your data, you may not be able to replace it… unless you have an appropriate backup.

Let’s look at the different ways you can backup your data and find the right way for you.

Local Backup

Drive Options

The simplest way to backup your Mac is to use an external hard drive. We would always recommend using a drive that has at least the same capacity as your computer. This means that it doesn’t matter how much you fill up your Mac, you know all your data will fit on the backup drive.

But what happens if your backup drive fails? You could use the a system that incorporates RAID. RAID (Redundant Array of Independent Disks) systems are designed to store data on multiple drives in order to protect the data if one of those drives fail. Without getting bogged down in the technicalities, RAID systems store the data multiple times across the drives installed, allowing any single drive to be replaced without any data loss. How this is done depends on which RAID standard is used.

If you have multiple machines that need backing up, or you don’t want your backup drive sat on your desk, you can use Network Attached Storage (NAS). NAS drives connect to your network, usually via ethernet directly into your hub/router. They are seen on the network as there own device and can be accessed by multiple machines. You can partition the drives to allocate space to each machine


Did you know that you already have backup software installed on your Mac? The fastest and easiest way to get started is to simply plug in an external hard drive and let Time Machine manage your backups. Time Machine is already installed on your Mac and will automatically detect a new hard drive connected via USB, Firewire, or Thunderbolt and ask you if you would like to use that drive as your backup. It will then regularly backup you Mac when the drive is attached. For more information on how Time Machine works, we have a straight-forward (although home-user focussed) blog you can view, but for more depth please see the Apple support page. Time Machine will backup your files, user data, and some applications. It also allows you to go back through your backups to pull out individual files, and previous versions of files.

Carbon Copy Cloner (CCC) is another backup solution. It is more commonly used across networks as it creates a complete copy of the hard drive that can be put onto a replacement machine. This is generally preferred by IT departments as it allows the replacement machine to be set up identically to the original, without the need to reset preferences and settings.

SuperDuper (SD) is freemium alternative to CCC. You can use the basic function of SD for free, which allows you to clone your drive and restore it to a new drive. There are more advanced features which become available once registered and paid.

Off Site Backup

As well as an onsite backup it is recommended to have some sort of offsite backup in the event something happens to the location of the Macs. You can do this by either having a physical backup in another location, or by using an online backup service that provides a ‘cloud backup’.

Physical Backup

The simplest way to do this, would be do take your backup drives from the office home with you. This is not ideal, as it relies on you remembering to do so, and Murphy’s Law would suggest that the day you forget, is the day something happens.

There are hard drives available that connect to a network and can be accessed via the internet. The LaCie and Synology, for example, both provide internet enabled hard drives that you could have at home and link to your computer in the office. This would allow you to backup files and folders off site without needing to keep on top of it.

Cloud Backup

At this point, it needs to be made clear that there is a difference between syncing services and backup services.

Syncing Services - Dropbox and OneDrive are examples of syncing services. These are files hosted online, that you can have copies on your computer and any saved changes are immediately updated to all copies. If the file on your computer becomes corrupted, or deleted, that will be mirrored in the online storage. You may not be able to retrieve a working copy.

Cloud Backup - Backblaze and BackupVault are examples of cloud backup solutions. Cloud backups can allow you to restore files, folders, or whole drives, like any physical backup. The only difference being, the backup is stored online.

There are a couple of things to be aware of if you do want to opt for a cloud backup. The first thing is the price, as opposed to physical backups, where once you have bought the equipment and you’re good to go. Cloud backup services are subscription based, this means it will cost you a few pounds per month, or year, with the price depending on what level of service, and how much data, you need.

Something else to consider, is where the backup is stored. Data in the cloud, has to be stored in a data centre somewhere. Your backup data will be governed by the laws of the Country the data centre is located in. For example, if you opt for a backup provider with data centres in China, the local governments will have access to all your data. You may also be prohibited from encrypting that data. Also, it is worth checking the laws relating to any customer data you may be storing, and how & where that data is allowed to be transferred to another region. BackupVault, for example, have their data centres in the UK; whereas Backblaze data centres are in the US.

This all boils down to the fact that you are transferring all your data to a third party, you need to trust that third party and their security and procedures. Microsoft’s TechNet has a lengthy article about Data Privacy in regards to Cloud Computing and storage here, which covers this in more depth.

In order to protect your data as much as possible, while also having access to it at a moment’s notice, it is ideal to have a combination of onsite and offsite backup. Your onsite backup, at least, should be daily, to protect you from losing too much data if the worst should happen. Your offsite backup could be weekly, as it is less likely to be needed, but also needs to be suitably up to date.

If you have any more questions about your backup process, or you think you ought to start backing up regularly, please contact our B2B Sales Team, who would be happy to guide you through getting set up.

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