Backing Up and Protecting Your Files On The Road

2 1/2 years worth of pictures, videos, and documents with sensitive information like copies of my passport and social security number. Losing this would be heartbreaking and even worse if stolen. These are the precautions I take and recommend on the road .

Online Cloud Backups

Backblaze uploads everything I do on the computer onto their data servers. The same day I move pictures into my computer, it’s already being uploaded onto Backblaze. The computer and Backblaze are synced. It runs in the background so I don’t even notice it. It scans for all files on the computer. As a bonus, it even scans all external harddrives and backs them up too. All files uploaded within 30 days are kept on Backblaze. That means if I were to upload a file today and delete it from your computer tomorrow, it will stay on Backblaze for 30 days. So if you’ve accidently deleted a file two weeks ago, you can still recover it.

Tips:

  • If you have a lot of files to upload that you want in the cloud immediately, keep your computer on in your hotel or private room hostel. Make sure you lock your door and it’s safe. Perhaps hide the computer.
  • In the settings for Backblaze, increase the bar for Faster Backups whenever you can.
  • I have hundreds of gigs backed up into Backblaze, the first few weeks take awhile to get everything uploaded. If you find it would take months to upload because you have maybe thousands of gigs – Backblaze might not be for you. Or just be selective about what you want to backup in the settings.
  • Backblaze has a software you can use to recover your files. It’s easy to use.
  • You can’t view things instantly on the software. To recover files, you have to go into their software and recover it.

Update: I’ve started using Dropbox in the last year and it’s an amazing software for backing up your computer. They provide 2 gigs for free to start with and several free options to earn more space. They have an affordable option to upgrading your account for an extra 100 gigs or more. You also don’t need any software to view, upload, or download anything onto your Dropbox although it’s recommended that you do so it’s easier to manage your account and drop files into it.

It’s totally different from Backblaze though. Backblaze is a real online backup tool that keeps all files for 30-days even after they are deleted. Dropbox however once a file is deleted, it’s gone forever from your computer and on Dropbox. But files are easier to access on Dropbox and it’s very convenient as a sharing tool to collaborate or share pictures with others. Keep in mind that Dropbox files can not be encrypted while Backblaze files can.

All Harddrives Die (eventually)

Sooner or later, your harddrive will fail. For every minute they are on, they are counting down to eventually failing. I have little trust in harddrives so I don’t let a minute pass by where I don’t have a second backup elsewhere. Whether it’s on a external harddrive or on your computer, it needs another location. This might sound like a little too much but once your harddrive fails, you’ll wish you had done it.

I have a LaCie All-Terrain and Western Digital My Passport external harddrives. Both have survived some intensive travel.

SD Cards and thumb-drives are cheap. You could backup as much as you can on them and mail them home — or hold onto them while you’re traveling.

Internet Bank Robbery
Internet Bank Robbery by michaelmolenda, on Flickr

Upload Pictures

For $20 a year, you can upload an unlimited amount of pictures to Flickr. That’s got to be one of the best deals on the internet. I use to upload every picture I had on Flickr and set only a certain amount of pictures to public. Not everything was worthy enough to send to friends and family. Now I use SmugMug which takes photography to the next level. But for your basic uploading of pictures, Flickr is a great deal.

Do NOT Keep Anything Sensitive On The Computer Itself

Copies of your credit card information, passwords, and everything else should never be kept on the computer. I frequently use Google Docs to save important documents. I also email myself files I need to save for later and label them on Gmail. If something were to happen to my laptop, I can still access all my important files from another location.

In Chrome, there’s an option called Clear cookies and other site and plug-in data when I quit my browser. Enable it. If you’ve been saving all your information on Google Docs, it wouldn’t be very useful if they can login anyway. It can be a pain having to login every time you want to check your email but you’d do that anyway if you were at a internet cafe. Firefox has simliar features. Firefox has simliar features to never remember your browsing history and more. Look through your preferences for your browser.

Encrypt your data and set passwords

Whether you’re using a Windows or Mac OS X operating system, there’ settings in your operating system to encrypt all of your data. If someone were to gain access to your files, it’d be encrypted and difficult to bypass giving you an extra layer of protection. Make sure you also set user and admin passwords for logging into your computer.

You can even take this further and use TrueCrypt. One of the best ways to truly hide your information and protect it.

As mentioned above, Backblaze has an option to encrypt all files that are being backed up.

[question]How do you keep your files on your computer safe and backed up?[/question]

[disclosure]I’ve included a few affiliate links in this article. These are all products I recommend and use myself.[/disclosure]

Michael Tieso

Michael Tieso travels around the world writing, photographing, and filming his adventures. He is the Editor-in-chief of Art of Adventuring.
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