Recently, a friend of ours opened up his Google Drive to find that all of his files had been deleted. Whether you use Drive for business or personal use, that’s a scary moment. He was able to recover his files, but it raised an interesting question: how much can you rely on the Cloud?
Back before the days of Drive and Dropbox, backing up your files in different physical locations was vital. If your hard drive crashed and you didn’t have those files saved on a flash drive (or, if you want to go back even further, a floppy disk), they were gone forever. Some people had their files in at least three different physical locations, just in case something went wrong.
Nowadays, your files are saved online in cloud storage, accessible from nearly anywhere. If you edit online, your work is even saved automatically. It’s easy to assume that they’ll always be there for you; even if your server crashes, what are the chances of Google going down?
But even though your files feel safe, there’s always a chance something could happen. From accidental deletes to a random server failure, you want to make absolutely certain that your files are still accessible. Here at the studio, we back up our files in two different places. And to keep it from being a long, tedious weekly process, we set it up to be automatic!
Step One: Google Drive
The first thing we did was set our Google Drive documents to automatically sync with a folder on our computers. This lets us edit documents offline; the changes are uploaded whenever there is an internet connection.
How to do it:
- Install Google Drive on your computer. You can do this for both Mac and PC.
- Open the program, and select “Preferences.”
- Select “Sync Google Docs Files.”
When you install Google Drive, a folder called “Google Drive” will be created in your Documents library. This is where your files sit, and you can add new ones just by dropping them into the folder.
Step Two: Box.com
Our current favorite online storage service is Box.com. Just like with Google Drive, we set up the account to automatically sync with the computer it’s installed on.
How to do it:
- Download Box Sync for either’ PC or Mac.
- Log into Box, and go to “Files.”
- Choose a folder, and right click on it. You should see the option to “Sync with Computer.”
As with Google Drive, you should now have a folder on your computer that contains all of your Box files.
Step Three: Combine
The last step in this process is to combine the two folders. You can do this in whichever order you like. Since all of our Box files exist in multiple locations (the cloud, and at least two other computers which serve as a back up to the back up), and we actively edit in Drive files on-line, we chose Drive as the interior folder for our combo trick.
How to do it:
- Drag the Google Drive folder into the Box Sync folder.
- Drive will give you an error that your sync folder is missing, and allow you to re-locate the folder. (You can also select the folder location during set up.)
- Giggle maniacally as you watch your files remain perfectly synced with each other forever.
We like Box because it saves deleted files for 90 days. If for some reason our files delete themselves and Box syncs with that change, we can still get everything back. But there are plenty of other backup options you can use, too.
Backupify is a pretty cool program that lets you connect with your various online accounts, like Twitter or Google. You can actually save an archive of your old Twitter messages, should you ever want them. A personal account is free, and you can upgrade for more services.
CloudHQ is a fairly standard paid backup. It syncs with Evernote and Google Docs, and has a reasonable yearly subscription. However, if you are a blogger and you write a review of their site, they will give you a free premium year of service.
Do you have any other services you like to use to keep your files safe? Any scary stories about cloud storage gone wrong? We’d love to hear them in the comments.