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March 31 is World Backup Day. When Did You Last Back Up?

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A bunch of Reddit users have decided to declare March 31 as World Backup Day, using the clever tagline “Don’t be an April Fool.” Of course, you shouldn’t only think about backing up your data on one day of the year, but it provides a welcome reminder that we should all keep reviewing our backup strategies. Hard drive failures (and other calamities) happen. When was the last time you backed up your data?

Review Your Backup Strategy

Take some time to review your current backup strategy and assess whether it’s still sufficient to keep your data secure. You need to determine how you will back up your data (either manually, or automate the process using an app), how often it gets backed up (periodically or continuously), and where it will be stored (on-site, off-site, or a combination of the two). Your personal backup strategy will likely depend on how much you value your data and how much time you want to devote to backing it up, but if you want to be absolutely sure your data is safe, check out Dawn’s Backup Strategies for the Paranoid, which outlines her two-pronged approach, combining both cloud and on-site backups for a completely automated and secure approach.

If you currently don’t use backup tools, or are looking for alternatives, here are some options:

Cloud Backup Tools

Cloud backup tools are attractive for a few reasons: They’re generally completely automated, relatively inexpensive and totally scalable with your needs; you won’t run out of disk space and have to add more physical storage. However, if you have a large amount of data, creating your first complete backup could take a very long time (one of our readers commented on a previous post that backing up all of his data to Mozy took an entire year!) Additionally, using a cloud backup solution means that you are relying on a third party to keep your data secure. Here are some cloud backup options:

  • BackBlaze. BackBlaze offers unlimited backup storage for $5 per month. Restores are handled via a downloaded ZIP file, or having a DVD sent to you.
  • Crashplan. Crashplan offers unlimited cloud storage with its Crashplan+ product, which costs $5 per month for a month-to-month plan. It works on Windows (s msft), Mac (s aapl) and Linux, and also offers onsite backup capability.
  • Mozy. Mozy is a popular backup solution that we’ve covered extensively in the past. However, it recently dropped its unlimited plan for MozyHome users, which may make it a less appealing option. Two MozyHome plans are now available: $5.99 per month for 50GB of storage and backing up of one computer, and $9.99 per month for 125 GB and backing up three machines. Each additional 20GB of storage or computer to back up then costs an extra $2 per month.

Backing up your data to the cloud is one thing, but how about backing up the data you already have stored somewhere in the cloud, such as the emails in your webmail account, or documents stored in Google Docs (s goog)? I recently outlined some techniques you can use to keep that data secure, too.

On-site Backup Tools

On-site backups allow you to quickly recover from a disaster like a hard drive failure. Aside from simply periodically copying files to an external hard drive, or burning them to a DVD or Blu-Ray disc, there are some apps you can use to create incremental backups to an external HDD, which means your data is continually backed up:

  • Time Machine. Mac (s aapl) users are well provided-for with Time Machine, the backup tool included with OS X. It’s easy-to-use and allows you to “set it and forget it.” If you’d like to get up to speed with it, check out Beginning Mac: Time Machine.
  • Paragon System Backup. Windows (s msft) users have a wealth of free and paid backup options to choose from. One option worth looking at is Paragon System Backup, which costs $29.95. It provides automatic backups, with a range of customization options available. A free trial is available.

Photo courtesy Flickr user Insulinde.

11 Responses to “March 31 is World Backup Day. When Did You Last Back Up?”

  1. No April the Fool

    I can’t believe that Gigaom is tricked by these guys. How come that Gogaom did not check who the people are behind this? This was started by one company (SpiderOak). It was clear who owned the domain when I checked whois info (since changed to private registration). Why are they keeping the name private? What are they afraid of?

    Well, I can see other companies getting sucked and joining this scam thinking that it is a non profit.

    I am not April fool – who is April the foll now? Gigaom?

    • looking at the Reddit thread it does look like a grassroots community effort to me. Also the WorldBackupDay site is promoting more than one backup provider, so it seems unlikely that it’s the effort of one company.

      However, even if it is just a tricky SpiderOak marketing effort, that’s beside the point: the idea that it’s to remind you to look into your backup strategies (and check your restores), which I would say is a good thing.

      • I would like to clarify some things.

        World Backup Day is an independent of the any of the companies. I, myself, am a college student studying biology in the United States. I was in the thread and decided that a World Backup Day was a cool idea. Some other Redditors thought so too. I bought up the domain from and NameCheap was offer Whois anon for free. So I said why not, I didn’t really want my home address out for all to see. Some of the companies employees were redditors and they must have told their bosses about World Backup Day ’cause they started sending the emails. We put ’em up on the site so that word about the day could spread. I just want to say that we haven’t made any money from the sponsorships.

    • Hello. Daniel Larsson, marketing manager @ spideroak here. I just want to make it absolutely clear that SpiderOak did provide hosting for and we do offer a few specials and contests (as well as several other backup vendors).

      HOWEVER, the Event, the idea and all information, content etc is 100% independent and created by the redditors behind SpiderOak nor any other company is a driving force behind the event, we simply like the idea and supports wbd in any way we can.

  2. World Backup Day is a great idea and they are getting a great response from several of the backup services. I heard that Mozy is also offering a discount code for the day as well. People should keep checking their website to find the latest offers.

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  5. Hi! Thanks for the write up!

    Here is a little history. A bunch of users on Reddit last week decided that there should be more awareness around backups and especially the upkeep of backup restores. You can check out the original reddit thread here ( This has resulted in designating March 31st as World Backup Day. A fellow redditor helped design the website and we even managed to have a couple of giveaways donated by SpiderOak, Backblaze, and Crashplan to help spread the word.

    You can check out our Facebook Page (http:/ and our twitter feed @WorldBackupDay ( for more info.

    Remember to not only backup your data, but also check your backup restores!