Monday, March 11, 2013

How to Back Up Your Data on a Chromebook


Before you shoot me. You know exactly why I wrote that headline.

There is someone who will ask this question because it's what we've been trained to ask. We've been groomed to look for a virus, anticipate a hardware failure, and expect—at some point—to lose data.

This is one of the most common arguments I hear against computing exclusively in the Cloud. There is always one guy or gal (I'm staying gender-neutral on this one) who raises their hand in the company meeting and asks, "What happens if the Cloud goes away?"

Yes, it's a fair question. And one that a few [sic] other people have asked and answered before.

Since I live in the Cloud (almost exclusively), the same thought has occurred to me, too. I use two services to help me back up the Cloud in case of the worst-case scenario.

  • CloudHQ—This service helps me recreate the stuff I house in services like Basecamp, Evernote, Dropbox, and Drive onto a separate cloud-based account. CloudHQ can even keep Drive and Dropbox in sync with one another. It never hurts to have a "ghost server" just in case. (Yes, I do know what an AS/400 is.)
  • Backupify—I found these guys nearly four years ago when searching through the Google Apps for Business Marketplace. They've come a long way. This service backs up my entire Google Apps account (Gmail, Calendar, Drive, etc.) along with some additional stuff like Twitter and Facebook. (I hope they add Google+ soon.)

There is a cost to both of these services just like there is a cost to purchase local servers and related hardware. But I would pay for them even if I didn't own a business. I'm an easy sell on this one because I've decided that living in the Cloud is safer and cheaper in the long run.

Backing up your data is a smart thing to do. Living in the Cloud doesn't change that. But it does change how it's done. (Remember, this is the Cloud. In other words, the goal is a minimalist approach to local, physical hardware, disks, etc.)

When/if I ever need to restore anything, all I have to do is log on to these services, click restore, and I'll be up and running. I guess you could say that the Cloud is self-healing.

That is how you back up your data on a Chromebook—just in case Google disappears.

(Of course, if Google disappears, then the apocalypse is upon us and it doesn't matter anyway.)

What other tips and ideas do you have around backing up data when you store everything (or almost everything) in the Cloud?