Mainstay Logo
Top 4 Methods To Backup Your Data

Top 4 Methods To Backup Your Data

Top 4 Methods To Backup Your Data

One of the few guarantees I can offer my clients in this modern world of computing, is that some day your hard drive is going to crash.

This may not happen for years, or it may happen within a few short months of owning your computer.  I’ve had nice, expensive, Western Digital Enterprise drives fail in just a few days of service (clearly a defective unit which was replaced under RMA), but the data was still lost.

It doesn’t really matter which make or model you have, your drive WILL fail.  (That’s not to say that all drives are created equally; ask us how to pick a good, reliable drive that will give you the best performance for the longest time possible).

 

So, taking that all hard dives will fail as a given, it behooves you to take measures to back up your data.

 

In the old days, this would involve tedious hours of burning your information to CD’s or DVD’s.  Or possibly you backed up your data to an external hard drive (which is also subject to failure).

I am not a fan of CD’s / DVD’s as they are intrinsically susceptible to natural degradation of the optical media. They will fail in time.

And using your own backup drive is fine, so long as you are consistent in your backup routine. Oh, and you also need to know what you are doing such that you get ALL the data you need (did you backup your contacts? your email? your tax files?).

And while LOCAL backups (i.e., to an external hard drive or USB stick) have the advantage of being quick, they suffer from a few glaring issues: they are limited to whatever capacity you purchased (ex., 500 GB drive) and they are susceptible to failure. In addition to regular failure there remains the issue of the Big 3: Flood, Fire, and Theft. Any of these occurrences can render you without a backup (or without any copies of your files).

Consider adopting OFFSITE backups as part of your backup strategy. Offsite backups provide instant redundancy from Flood, Fire, and Theft, and also provides a set-it-and-forget-it approach. You never need to worry about IT support, replacing drives, or ensuring that you have enough space available on your drive.

One of the major concerns with offsite backups that I hear regularly, is that of security. Honestly, this is a non-issue in modern computing. Your data is encrypted on your computer, is transferred to a secure hosting facility in an encrypted manner, and is stored in an encrypted form.

What do I do? I use a local backup for rapid backup and recovery of files + an offsite backup to provide a nice, let-me-sleep-at-night safety net.

So how do you backup your data so that when your drive fails, you haven’t lost everything?

Here are the top 4 methods for backing up your data in a simple, no nonsense, approach.

  1. Local Backup using ClickFree
  2. Offsite Backup using BackBlaze
  3. Offsite Backup using KineticD
  4. Local Backup using TimeMachine

ClickFree

ClickFree
Solution: ClickFree
Compatible: Mac & Windows
Website: http://www.clickfree.com/
Description:
Clickfree C6 Easy Imaging products provide Total Computer Backup including the protecting your Windows Operating System, Software Programs and all Personal Files including photos, music, videos, email, contacts, web favorites, documents – over 500+ file types.

Includes EasyFix™ which allows you to easily recover from computer crashes caused by viruses or software corruption – often within minutes.

Backing up your entire computer has never been easier.


BackBlaze

BackBlaze
Solution: BackBlaze
Compatible: Mac & Windows
Website: http://www.backblaze.com
Description:
BackBlaze offers an amazing off-site backup service that quietly and continuously backs up your critical data to their secure cloud servers. In the event of a hard drive failure you can readily log into their web-based service and download your files.

Unlike most off-site services, there is no limit to how much data you can upload nor is there a charge per GB of data… it is UNLIMITED. All for a low monthly cost of $4.

I use BackBlaze on all of our critical systems.


KineticD

KineticD
Solution: KineticD
Compatible: Mac & Windows
Website: http://www.kineticD/
Description:
KineticD offers a secure CANADIAN cloud backup service. Their rates are industry competitive and their backup client is robust and powerful. Their help and support team is one of the best I’ve ever encountered.

Why would you choose KineticD over BackBlaze? I use KineticD in situations that require confidential data remain in Canadian waters (think Patriot Act), where I need to install on a server, or when I need to manage several systems within an organization and require centralized reporting.


Time Machine

Time Machine
Solution: Time Machine
Compatible: Mac
Website: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1427
Description:
Built into all Mac is the ability to make frequent, automatic, backups of your entire system. See http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1427 for a complete guide on how to take advantage of this feature.

While there are other Mac-based solutions like SuperDuper! and Carbon Copy Cloner, Time Machine is built-in, ready to go, and should satisfy the vast majority of home users.


Honorable Mention: Cobian Backup

Upon re-reading this article I feel it would be remiss of me not to mention one of the most useful utilities I employ on a regular basis: Cobian Backup.
Cobian Backup
Solution: Cobian Backup
Compatible: Windows
Website: http://www.cobiansoft.com/cobianbackup.htm
Description:
Cobian Backup is a multi-threaded program that can be used to schedule and backup your files and directories from their original location to other directories/drives in the same computer or other computer in your network. FTP backup is also supported in both directions (download and upload).

The only reason it wasn’t a candidate for the above-mentioned Top 4, is that it requires a certain amount of know-how in order to configure the program to backup your files.

How To Request Remote Assistance

How To Request Remote Assistance

To receive remote assistance follow these simple steps:

Join Me

Follow these steps AND THEN contact Mainstay Computing for support:

  1. Arrange a convenient time for you to receive remote support with a Mainstay Computing Technician.
  2. Click here: https://join.me/
  3. In the Share Your Screen section: choose Basic
  4. Click the Big Orange Button
  5. Run the download (you may need to save it to your computer and then run the file)
  6. Share your 9-digit code with Mainstay Computing
  7. You will be prompted to allow remote desktop control, choose yes.

 

Requirements for Remote Support

  • A high speed internet connection
  • We need uninterrupted access to the system (please refrain from moving the mouse or keyboard)

 

Mainstay Computing

t: 604 885 2410

c: 604 741 7575

f: 206 222 2037 or 778 458 2181

e: support@mainstaycomputing.com

FBI issues warning to smartphone users regarding Android malware

FBI issues warning to smartphone users regarding Android malware

From: http://appleinsider.com/articles/12/10/15/fbi-issues-warning-to-smartphone-users-regarding-android-malware

Monday, October 15, 2012, 02:44 pm

FBI issues warning to smartphone users regarding Android malware

By Slash Lane

The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center has issued a warning alerting users about malware that targets the Android mobile operating system.

The intelligence note from the IC3 was issued last week, and highlighted on Monday by Apple 2.0. It noted there are various forms of malware out in the wild that attack Android devices.

Two forms of malware cited byt he IC3 are Loozfon, which steals information from users, and FinFisher, which can give nefarious hackers control over a user’s device.

Android

Image via Android Police.

Loozfon can lure in victims by promising users a work-at-home opportunity in exchange for sending out an e-mail. Visiting a link in the e-mail will push Loozfon to the user’s device, allowing the malware to steal contact details from the device’s address book.

The FinFisher spyware highlighted by the IC3 allows for a mobile device to be remotely controlled and monitored from anywhere. FinFisher is installed by simply visiting a Web link or opening a text message that disguises itself as a system update.

IN addition to highlighting Loozfon and FinFisher, the IC3 intelligence note also offers users a number of safety tips to help protect their mobile device. They are:

  • When purchasing a Smartphone, know the features of the device, including the default settings. Turn off features of the device not needed to minimize the attack surface of the device.
  • Depending on the type of phone, the operating system may have encryption available. This can be used to protect the user’s personal data in the case of loss or theft.
  • With the growth of the application market for mobile devices, users should look at the reviews of the developer/company who published the application.
  • Review and understand the permissions you are giving when you download applications.
  • Passcode protect your mobile device. This is the first layer of physical security to protect the contents of the device. In conjunction with the passcode, enable the screen lock feature after a few minutes of inactivity.
  • Obtain malware protection for your mobile device. Look for applications that specialize in antivirus or file integrity that helps protect your device from rogue applications and malware.
  • Be aware of applications that enable Geo-location. The application will track the user’s location anywhere. This application can be used for marketing, but can be used by malicious actors raising concerns of assisting a possible stalker and/or burglaries.
  • Jailbreak or rooting is used to remove certain restrictions imposed by the device manufacturer or cell phone carrier. This allows the user nearly unregulated control over what programs can be installed and how the device can be used. However, this procedure often involves exploiting significant security vulnerabilities and increases the attack surface of the device. Anytime a user, application or service runs in “unrestricted” or “system” level within an operation system, it allows any compromise to take full control of the device.
  • Do not allow your device to connect to unknown wireless networks. These networks could be rogue access points that capture information passed between your device and a legitimate server.
  • If you decide to sell your device or trade it in, make sure you wipe the device (reset it to factory default) to avoid leaving personal data on the device.
  • Smartphones require updates to run applications and firmware. If users neglect this it increases the risk of having their device hacked or compromised.
  • Avoid clicking on or otherwise downloading software or links from unknown sources.
  • Use the same precautions on your mobile phone as you would on your computer when using the Internet.

The presence of malware on Android has been known for some time, while Apple’s tightly controlled iOS platform is far less susceptible to malware. This summer, one piece of malware did manage to slip through the cracks and was temporarily available for download on Apple’s iOS App Store.

12 Cool Cable Organizers

12 Cool Cable Organizers

Reposted from:  http://techflesh.com/12-coolest-cable-organizers/

 

These nail-in clips make attaching wires to the wall a creative task, and make the wires part of the room decoration.

Don’t you hate all those untidy computer cables, lamp cords, and extension cords snaking throughout the house?

The adapter comes with two ranger shaped plastic figures as a cable organizer that can help you hold the long and tangled cable. It really looks like two rangers holding a fire hose.

This is a set of interesting cable labels that can be used to mark those cables behind your computer or TV just like a cable organizer. The Mark Brothers set contains 5 cable labels in total, and as we can see from the images each cable label features a cute figure in a different posture.

These Leaf Ties replace boring plastic ones you may have bundling up cables and wires around the home. Bring a little nature to it by using these ties instead.

The Fork is a product that takes an everyday USB or mouse cable and transforms the appearance. Picture a messy plate of spaghetti neatly twisted onto a fork placed above a layer of cream sauce right before it is ready to be eaten. The Fork creates a similar picture with any cable. However, the white iPod and iPhone cables work exceptionally well with this product.

Funny design for cable

This wire manager cable turtle holder will help keep unsightly excess electrical wire cables out of sight.

Metal Cordies is made of sleek metal with black accents. It keeps all of your cables organized and weighted down: phone chargers, digital camera cords, and audio cables.

Organize your cables by wrapping the monkey’s arms around them.

Stick a Cordlet wherever you need a helping hand with cord management.

The hub is a compact, elegant cable organizer that measures only 16mm tall and is designed for various cords and cables.

Create Your Restore / Recovery DVDs

As a computer repair technician, I can offer some good tips and tricks on how to keep your computer repair bill to a minimum.

One of the simplest (and most overlooked) things a customer can do to keep their costs down, is to provide me with their System Recovery DVDs. These recovery disks dramatically reduce the time it takes me to repair your computer.

Your computer is fixed faster, you are back in business quicker, and your repair bill is lower. Everyone wins.

Re-installation disks contain the correct copy of Windows that is licensed to match your Product Key (the sticker attached to your computer), a database of the software drivers which are intended to make the hardware inside your computer function correctly, and all of the bundled software that originally accompanied your computer.

Instead of me having to hunt down your drivers, software, and persnickety little software patches, it is all ready to go in one neat package.

 

But my computer didn’t come with a recovery disk!

Sadly, this is true with most low-cost computers.

Most manufacturers have decided to save the $0.10 it costs to provide you with a recovery disk, and instead are passing this responsibility onto the consumer.

All manufacturers provide some software by which you are supposed to create these disks yourself. This software should prompt you to “Create Your Recovery Disks Now!”.  And keep prompting you until you click the little button that tells the program to stop annoying you with the prompt.

 

Surely you can’t believe that my home-made DVDs marked up with a Sharpie are going to last longer than a commercially stamped DVD from the manufacturer.

Not at all – of course they are going to be inferior.  And stop calling me Shirley.

If your home-made disks aren’t up to par, then call your manufacturer and get them to send you the disks.  They usually charge a nominal $30.

Just be sure to get the disks BEFORE you need repairs.  Otherwise that 2 week shipping time could seriously affect the time it takes to get your computer back to you.