Happy Friday the 13th, the day things are supposed to go wrong and, if Adam Engst, publisher of the venerable TidBITs newsletter for all things Apple, has his way, it’s also occasion to observe a new holiday: International Verify Your Backups Day. Engst first announced this idea back in February when he wrote:
The best defense against entropy is a good backup strategy. To quote a long-ago ad campaign from backup software maker Dantz Development, ‘To go forward, you must back up.’
But as those of us who have had to rely on our backups in the past know, the act of backing up is only the first small step in the full equation—it’s being able to restore that really matters…
I humbly submit that Friday the 13th, whenever it rolls around, should be considered International Verify Your Backups Day. (The United Nations is welcome to make this official.) In 2015, we’ll be celebrating in February, March, and November. If you’re reading this article on some other day, I’d encourage you to verify your backups right away and then continue with the Friday the 13th schedule.
I missed the first one but I did in fact check my backups today to be sure that everything is running as expected. I’m actually a bit of a fanatic when it comes to backups, as I have at least four systems in place to cover my data. First, I use Apple’s TimeMachine software to backup incrementally to an external hard drive attached to my desktop Mac at home, which I consider to be my main computer. That machine is also running CrashPlan, which does a full backup to the cloud. I also run a nightly SuperDuper! script which clones the entirety of my desktop Mac’s contents to one of two alternating 1 TB portable hard drives—I always keep one of them off site, just to be safe. And finally, most of my active projects are saved in DropBox.
Today’s “holiday” helped me realize that I had inadvertently excluded an important directory from CrashPlan’s script, so there was about 10 GB or so that wasn’t getting backed up to CrashPlan’s servers. With all that redundancy, it probably wouldn’t have been too big of a deal if I hadn’t detected it, but I was very glad that I did. So I heartily recommend you verify your own backups today too. The next International Backup Day will be Fr 13 Nov, so don’t wait that long. And if you don’t have any backups of your data—well, just wow.