EP133: The Backup Show

Episode Summary:
In today’s episode, I am going to share my start to finish backup and digital organization and management system.

This episode piggy-backs on Episode 132: The iCloud Show

In this episode:
I am going to take you behind the scenes and share my current 2018 backup strategy and system for archiving my digital data to protect me against any digital emergencies such as a hard drive failing or maybe a lost or stolen computer while on the road.

Practical tips for you to get started take control of your digital data and develop a rock-solid backup plan.
The tools I use for backup and organization.
My current backup system and workflow for all of my devices.

Question for you:
If your backpack that had your laptop, iPhone, iPad and a portable external hard drive was stolen out of your parked car, would you be able to recover your podcast episodes and videos and photos and music library and all of your personal and business documents?

Episode 133:

The goal of today is to Practical tips for you to get started take control of your digital data and develop a rock-solid backup plan.

Did you cringe when I asked the question about whether your data is currently backed up?

Practical tip #1: Take inventory.
Where does all of your digital content live?
Gather it all in one place.
Clean up and consolidate from your internal drive, thumb drives, external drives and Google Drive & Dropbox.
Create one folder on any hard drive that has space and call it 2018 Backup.
Inside that organize by big-ticket items: Videos, Photos, Documents and start to fill up the buckets from your computer and external drives and organize as you go.

The goal is to have one Master Folder to back up.

Practical Tip #2: Clean House.
During the consolidation exercise, delete as much as you can or do not need anymore and try and reduce the amount of digital clutter you have.
Delete applications you no longer use.
Clean everything off your desktop and in the Downloads folder.
Store documents in Documents, not on Desktop!
Look in your photos, movies, and music folders and clean up loose files or folders.
Make a pile of empty external drives and toss them if they are several years old.

Practical Tip #3: iOS Devices.
Clean up everything on your iOS Devices and export all of your photos and videos from your iPhone and consolidate all of them with your Master Photo Library on your desktop or laptop computer.

Tools I Use

Tool #1: ChronoSync ($50)
This a utility for Macs that quickly scans two hard drives or folders and checks for any differences between the two.

I plug in two drives and ChronoSync does a quick scan and tells me all of the files that are different and I can copy anything that is different from hard drive to another so the backup will be an exact clone and it saves a ton of time.

Tool #2: SuperDuper ($30)
It is very similar to Chrono Sync in that it makes identical clones and can do scheduled backups. You can plug in two external hard drives to your Mac and schedule SuperDuper to make automatic backups of one drive to another so you do not have to keep track of any changes of the main drive you are working off of and you can have a cloned backup at all times.

My Preference: SuperDuper

My 2018 Backup System:

iPhone & iPad
They are automatically backed up to iCloud so all of my contacts, notes, messages, photos, etc are recoverable if I were to ever damage or lose my devices, etc.

I plug in my devices to my Mac with a USB cable and use the Mac app Image Capture to export all of my Photos and videos to my Mac and I import them into Lightroom where I manage all of my Photos from all of my cameras.

Adobe Lightroom is how I organize and process my photos so I want all of my photos backed up in one place.

My MacBook Pro:
I use Apple Time Machine to backup my Mac 24/7 to a hard drive that is connected to my Apple Airport Extreme wireless modem so the drive is in another room and not connected to my computer.

If my MacBook Pro were to die tomorrow, I could restore anything on my laptop with my Time Machine backup in no time. Apple Time Machine works in the background 24/7 and is backing up everything on do on my Mac at all times and I can always go back in time and restore anything. Love this.

My External Drives:
I do all of my work on external drives and my brand of choice is LaCie thunderbolt drives. They are fast, quiet and reliable. For my main hard drives, I usually buy two at the same time so I work off one and use the second as a backup clone drive in which I will use SuperDuper or ChronoSync to make a mirror of my working drive.

Hard Drives I Use:
LaCie 6TB d2 Thunderbolt
LaCie 4TB Rugged Drive (for mobile/travel)

Hard Drive side-tip:
If you are a podcaster and video creator, hard drives that do not have loud fans are important. Speed is also important for editing video. SSD or solid state drives are the best but still quite expensive for multi-TB drives, so I usually get Thunderbolt or USB 3.0 drives and they perform pretty fast.

On My Desk:
I have one Lacie 6TB Drive plugged into my laptop that does not leave my desk. I have another 6TB LaCie daisy chained (or plugged into the main hard drive) that serves as strictly a backup and an exact duplicate of the other. These 2 drives do not leave my desk. I have a smaller, portable 4TB Rugged Hard Drive by Lacie that has most of my media and data and I use that when I go to clients or travel.

Tool Tip Time: Backblaze
I use the cloud-based service Backblaze for $5/month to back up my main 6TB hard drive and my MacBook Pro (which is also backed up to Time Machine & iCloud).

Backblaze again is only $5/month for unlimited backup storage and it backs up everything 24/7.

Backblaze is similar to Carbonite.

I have used Backblaze for nearly 3 years without a hiccup. It just works and it is a set it and forget it type of backup. I do log in every month or so just to make sure it’s all working, but so far so good.


I use a MacBook Pro laptop.
This gets backed up Apple Time Machine automatically over WiFi.
I have a 6TB Thunderbolt LaCie Drive plugged into my computer that holds all of my media and work I create. This is my digital hub.
Plugged into that big drive is an identical drive that is an exact copy or clone, so if either hard drive fails, I have a backup.
It’s called redundancy.
I use Backblaze.com for $5/month that continuously backs up one of the 6TB drives so if anything like fire, theft, flood or hurricane damaged my house or whatever, reference is in the Cloud so I can access from anywhere.

Final Part of My Backup Plan: Google Drive

The last piece of my backup plan has more to do with productivity and workflow, but pulls double duty as a solid backup plan and that is upgrading my G Suite account to the $10/month business plan which gives me 1TB of Google Drive space that now has all of my personal and business docs and my photos and music libraries.

The G Suite Google Drive is quite impressive and I highly recommend it if you are a G Suite user (which I think everybody should be using G Suite for their online world, but that is another topic). I have most all of my data with the exception of videos since video files take up so much space and having them on Google Drive means that I can get to my files from my iPhone and it’s cloud-based, so unless Google has a major meltdown,

This G suite update gives me everything I need for my business for $10/month and worth every penny.

Parting Advice #1:
If you are backup savvy and diligent about it, I salute you.

If you are not and want to be or know you should be, at a very minimum use Apple Time Machine if you are a Mac user. There is no excuse for not using Time Machine and it has saved me so many times recovering files I accidentally trashed and wanted to restore. Time Machine is underrated and pretty awesome if you are an Apple faithful.

Advice #2: use iCloud Storage for $9.99 per month you get 2 TB of storage which is a lot of space and you may even be able to back up your entire computer and access everything from an app on your phone or a web browser. Doesn’t that sound awesome?

Advice #3: If you are a G Suite user, the new and improved Google Drive upgrade for only $5 extra per month has been one of my happiest decisions knowing that I am not a slave to my external hard drives other than for video files and my backup system is now over-redundant and bomb-proof. Another reason I love using Google Drive is the search engine is Google so it’s awesome. I just start typing what I’m looking for and boom, there is my stuff right from my iPhone or wherever.

Advice #4: Use good external hard drives and back up your data if you are a content creator or taking photos or making art or videos or podcasts, etc. Etc. Do not skimp on the cheapest drives you can find and do a little homework and digging as you want fast read and write times and a fast connector type such as SSD, Thunderbolt or USB 3.0 so you can actually work right off of the drive. This is really important if you are editing any types of videos.

Moral of the story:

Backup your digital world. It matters to you and your business. I can help if you need it.

If you want me to customize a backup system for you or you need some guidance or advice on any of this, please email me anytime at: mike@mikemurphy.co

Subscribe To Podcast
Leave A Rating & Review
Gear I Use
Ask Mike Anything

Music: Life of Riley & Wallpaper (incompetech.com)

Amazon/Affiliate Disclosure:
Mike Murphy LLC is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Listen To Past Episodes